The Incredible Impacts Programme celebrates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings to create a powerful platform to advocate their positive societal impact. A panel of independent judges from the association world each years determines which meetings have proven impact to award three grants of USD 7,500 on behalf of BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA.

In 2018, Down Syndrome International was awarded one of the three grants.

Promoting public awareness

Down Syndrome International (DSI), hosted their World Down Syndrome Congress in July 2018 in Glasgow. The congress brought together a range of professionals and researchers from health and social care, education, employment and human rights. People with Down syndrome and their families were also present for an inspiring experience of education with the aim of removing some of the stigmas surrounding the condition.

Their mission through the conference is to improve quality of life for people with Down syndrome worldwide and promote their inherent right to be included and accepted as valued and equal members of society. The congress had an outstanding impact by raising public awareness for the community, attracted over 1000 delegates, of which 120 were people with Down syndrome, and recruited a team of commissioners (adults with Down syndrome) as ambassadors for the event, with one member conducting a filmed interview with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, used to close the ceremony. DSI plan to continue their commissioner programme for future congresses in Dubai and Brisbane, utilising their experience and expertise to pass this on to the next host city.

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Watch the interview with Pandora Summerfield, CEO of Down Syndrome Scotland, to find out more about their approach:

Download the full case study.