UNIC Canberra joined Autism Awareness Australia to mark World Autism Awareness Day at a special evening event at the Sydney Opera House. Over 200 guests, including Federal and State politicians, corporate executives, leaders of civil society, as well as many parents and friends of children with autism joined together to mark the Day and watch the Sydney Opera House light up blue above them.
Nicole Rogerson, CEO Autism Awareness Australia, remarked how the day was a significant one for the autism community worldwide and an opportunity to recognize the 1 in 100 individuals on the spectrum, their abilities, their strengths and their contribution to the community. She also stressed that supporting people with autism was a lifelong challenge, which continued beyond childhood and that the ongoing need for support and caring needed to be recognised. The evening’s address was given by Jacqueline Addenbaulm who gave a personal account of her efforts to shine a light on Autism and bring it to the attention of the global community. Her words were an inspiration to everyone present.
In introducing the Secretary-General’s message, UNIC Director, Christopher Woodthorpe, spoke about the new Sustainable Development Agenda and how an integral part of this was that no one should be left behind. Inclusion of communities such as people with autism, was vital to attaining the goal of a dignified life for all. He thanked those present for their support, noting that to be successful the new agenda needed to be relevant at the individual level and that their efforts were an example of how we can all play a part in building a better world.