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G3ict/Smart Cities for All Country Representative Program Names Four New Country Representatives

The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, through its Smart Cities for All (SC4A) Initiative, welcomes the appointment of four new Country Representatives to promote in countries around the world the goals and objectives of G3ict, SC4A, and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

ATLANTA (February 01, 2022) —

Today the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict), through its Smart Cities for All global initiative, appointed four new Country Representatives - Lindsay Perry (Australia), Victor Zhuang (Singapore), Thalagodage Janitha Rukmal (Sri Lanka), and Dr Chandra Harrison (New Zealand). The global network of disability and accessibility leaders now extends to 38 members worldwide.

G3ict and Smart Cities for All benefit from a global network of expert Country Representatives who collaborate with local and national governments, civil society, and private sector stakeholders to make societies and communities more inclusive in the context of the UN SDGs (#11), the UN-Habitat III New Urban Agenda, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Country Representatives also bring to their countries the global work of G3ict and Smart Cities for All and a broad understanding of accessibility and universal design for technology, transportation, and built environments. The new representatives were selected by an application process and appointment committee.

"The vision, commitment, and efforts of these four leaders is driving real accessibility and inclusion progress," said James Thurston, G3ict Vice President and Managing Director of Smart Cities for All. "G3ict is honored to add each of them to our growing network of in-country experts."

With this expansion, the G3ict/Smart Cities for All Country Representative program now includes 14 IAAP-certified (CPACC, CPABE, and CPWA) experts with specializations in accessibility of digital and built environments. The program now represents 37 countries from Africa (7), Central Asia (1), Central/South America and the Caribbean (5), East Asia/Pacific (5), Europe (5), Middle East and North Africa (6), North America (1) and South Asia (9).

Each of the selected representatives will be involved in varied projects to advance accessibility in the digital and built environment for persons with disabilities in their communities, countries, and around the world. Each will leverage valuable technical expertise and use their experiences to play an important role in expanding the global impact of the G3ict and its Smart Cities for All Country Representative Program.

"Joining G3ict gives me the opportunity to experience a global perspective of accessibility issues that can be shared with other like-minded professionals striving for an inclusive world," said Lindsay Perry, President of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA). "I look forward to collaborating with other Country Representatives and to bringing this passion to my peers and colleagues here in Australia."

Lindsay is passionate about access and inclusion.  From an architectural background, she has been working as an access consultant throughout Australia and at the international level for the past twenty years gaining extensive experience in a wide range of projects with a focus on the built environment, strategy, and accessibility management procedures. Lindsay currently holds the position of President of ACAA, the peak national body for access consulting in Australia and a PhD candidate researching universal design in developing countries. 

"Becoming the New Zealand representative for G3ict is a wonderful opportunity to build on the hard work that has been done so far in making accessibility (and usability) key factors in New Zealand life," said Dr Chandra Harrison, Managing Director of Access Advisors NZ. "Now is a particularly significant time for accessibility in Aotearoa New Zealand with the creation of the Ministry for Disabled people. I look forward to working with G3ict."

Dr Chandra Harrison has a PhD in Human-computer Interaction and has been active in accessibility for over twenty years. Whilst UK-based she was the Accessibility Representative for the User Experience Professionals Association. Since 2020 she’s been the owner and Managing Director of Access Advisors (AA) NZ, a digital access consultancy created in 2017 by the RNZFB. The consultancy works with companies as well as Government and charities to increase the accessibility of their digital offerings. AA takes a holistic view of accessibility, not always looking solely to compliance but rather to a more accessible and usable outcome.  

"I've been doing everything I can to empower people like me, Sri Lanka's persons with disabilities, to get together and change attitudes, laws, policies and thereby the ICT infrastructure and built environment in my country to be accessible and affordable to everyone regardless of the different circumstances in life," said Thalagodage Janitha Rukmal, Co-founder of Enable Lanka Foundation (ELF). "I believe that being able to become the Country Representative for Sri Lanka at a globally recognized body like The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, could be a giant leap for me in achieving this goal sooner than I hoped."

Thalagodage Janitha Rukmal is a development professional on accessible and inclusive digital and physical infrastructure. He is a co-founder of Enable Lanka Foundation (ELF) network dedicated to empowering PWD towards mainstreaming disability inclusion in Sri Lanka. Rukmal is the first and only Sri Lankan to receive NVDA expert certification so far. He is the author of a policy publication on political rights and representation of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and has proactively been engaged with international organizations including United Nations (UN) agencies as a consultant and an advisor on disability, both at the national and regional levels. 

"Singapore has been actively pursuing a Smart Nation and a key part of it has been the deployment of technology for inclusion," said Victor Zhuang, Research Fellow at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University. "I am willing to share some of these exemplary projects as a G3ict Country Representative and look forward to hearing and learning about what other countries are doing!"

Victor has a PhD in Disability Studies and is currently a research fellow at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, working on a project exploring the intersections of disability and emerging technologies. He is also working on a book project, based on his PhD research, examining the workings of inclusion in Singapore. He hopes to use his research to contribute to current debates about how inclusion happens both in Singapore and around the world. 

G3ict launched Smart Cities for All initiative in 2016 in partnership with leading organizations from civil society and industry. Since 2019, when the Global Alliance for Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) redeployed its activities to G3ict, G3ict and its Smart Cities for All global initiative have worked to grow and strengthen the unique network of accessibility leaders and experts.


About G3ict

G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations include industry, academia, the public sector, and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict promotes good practices in digital accessibility policies and programs and provides tools for advocates around the world, including its Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index (DARE Index) designed to benchmark countries' progress. For more information, please visit the G3ict website.

About Smart Cities for All

In 2016, G3ict partnered with leading civil society and industry organizations to launch the  Smart Cities for All global initiative. Since then, Smart Cities for All has defined the state of ICT accessibility in cities worldwide and created tools and a path forward to improve the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons. The goal of Smart Cities for All is to eliminate the digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons in urban environments around the world. The global initiative partners with leading organizations and companies to create and deploy the tools and strategies needed to build more inclusive Smart Cities. For more information, please visit the Smart Cities for All website.

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Contact: Udita Singh, Communications Manager, G3ict, udita.singh@g3ict.org