I INTERDISCIPLINARY ACADEMIC SYMPOSIUM ON DISABILITY RESEARCH
University of Costa Rica, August 19-21 2015
The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that: “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others” (Art. 1).
According to Costa Rica’s National Population Census of 2011, there are more than 450,000 people with disabilities in the country, which represent almost a 10% of the total population. Meanwhile, in the National Register of Statistics on Disability report from 2011’s first quarter, the National Council for Rehabilitation and Special Education (CNREE, Spanish acronym) notes that the disabilities taking the first place throughout the population are those associated to body movements -physical limitations- (35.02%), followed by mental disabilities (31.12%). Although these numbers vary depending on the country, the fact is that people who carry a disability status represent the minority group with the highest social exclusion rates in the world (about 10% of the population).
Moreover, some countries have created and enforced legal documents aimed to protect people with disabilities’ rights, and to fully achieve their social inclusion. In this regard, Costa Rica has approved legislations such as Law 7600 and Law 8661; conversely, neither the number of people with disabilities nor the laws have prevented this population from being discriminated and socially excluded.
On its jurisdiction, since 1973, the University of Costa Rica has made administrative, academic and educational efforts to comply with this population’s demands. For instance, in 2011 the Institutional Program on Disabilities (PRODIS, Spanish acronym) was created with the main goal of bringing together all the teaching, investigation and social action efforts regarding the field of disabilities.
In this context, and given the social exclusion status that people with disabilities live, the need to promote the development of research and studies in the field, as well as to create interdisciplinary work teams to approach this complex reality has arisen. This has encouraged the Research Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CIBCM, Spanish acronym) and the Institutional Program on Disabilities (PRODIS) to carry out the First Interdisciplinary Academic Symposium on Disabilities’ Research, which will take place from the 19th to the 21st of August 2015.