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Burton Blatt Institute Chairman Peter Blanck to co-chair Israeli disability rights panel on community living
University Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, has been appointed by the government of Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Services to co-chair a disability rights expert panel on community living for persons with intellectual disabilities.
Blanck’s co-chair is leading Israeli academic Arie Rimmerman, the Richard Crossman Chair for Social Welfare and Planning in the School of Social Work, Social Welfare and Health Studies at the University of Haifa in Israel. Rimmerman is an internationally known researcher in intellectual disabilities and disability studies, and founder of the Israeli Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities.
Blanck and Rimmerman have been charged by Chaya Aminadav, director of the Division of Services to People with Intellectual Disabilities in Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, to examine and report on ways to further the transition of Israelis with intellectual disabilities from institutional to community living.
The three other internationally recognized members of the panel include Gerard Quinn of the National University of Ireland at the Galway School of Law and director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy; Joel Levy, formerly CEO of the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities; and Meindert Haveman, of the University of Dortmund in Germany, who is in the Department of Rehabilitation and Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
“Our goal is to further the important dialogue on the deinstitutionalization of Israelis with intellectual disabilities,” says Rimmerman. “I look forward to working with Professor Blanck and the other panel members to report to the Israeli government on strategies to include people with intellectual disabilities in community living.”
The expert panel is convening in Tel Aviv, Israel, and plans to release a report of its findings. “My hope is that this group of international leaders in community living for people with disabilities will stimulate discussion and suggest ways to foster independent and equal community living for Israelis with intellectual disabilities,” says Blanck.