New Zealand Receives Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Award at UN Ceremony Governor-General Satyanand of New Zealand Recognized by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; FDR’s Great-Grandson Salutes New Zealand’s Disabled Persons Assembly
Hyde Park, NY and New York, NY – May 6, 2008 - The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the World Committee on Disability presented New Zealand with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award. The Award was accepted by the Honorable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand who acknowledged that the award reflected “a sustained commitment to address the needs and wellbeing of New Zealanders who live with long-term impairment.” The Governor-General greeted participants in all of New Zealand’s official languages, and the ceremony was relayed in Sign Language. He said “New Zealand is committed to the principle that everyone is born equal in dignity and worth. Everyone is entitled, as a human right, to live a life to the fullest extent of his or her abilities.”
Attending the ceremony were H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Mr. Sha Zukang, UN Under Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, Founder and Chair Emeritus Roosevelt Institute; Hon. Michael R. Deland, Chairman, World Committee on Disability; David A. Roosevelt, Member of the Board of Governors of the Roosevelt Institute and great-grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; Mr. Robert David Hall, actor in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Dr. Young Woo Kang, Vice Chairman, World Committee on Disability; Mr. Mike Gourley, National President, Disabled Peoples Assembly (New Zealand).
The Award by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute to a UN member state that makes noteworthy progress toward the goal of full participation of citizens with disabilities as called for in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is giving $50,000 to a nongovernmental disability service organization. The Disabled Peoples Assembly of New Zealand was selected for the cash prize by the government of New Zealand. Mr. Mike Gourley, National President of Disabled Peoples Assembly complimented New Zealand’s role in obtaining the passage of the Convention and the strong partnerships between government and disabled people that it represents. “The passage of this Convention is remarkable in two ways: for the near record speed it’s taken to come into force, compared to other human rights treaties. And for the critical part that the forces representing the community of disabled people and our allies played in its inception and development.”
According to the United Nations there are six-hundred million men, women and children with disabilities in the world. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award was established at Hyde Park, NY in 1995 in commemoration of the inspirational achievements of Franklin Roosevelt in overcoming his disability. FDR’s great-grandson, David A. Roosevelt , expressed his conviction that President Roosevelt would be proud of New Zealand’s efforts. Because of his personal struggle with polio, “he saw the promise ready to bloom in each of us, and he asked us to call upon our own inner strength and courage to make the world a better place.”
Award recipients include: The Republic of Korea, Canada, Ireland, The Republic of Hungary, The Kingdom of Thailand, The Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of Italy, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Poland and now, New Zealand.