International Symposium to Mark Completion of ICI Project with Armenia
On September 28, the work of Enhancing the Inclusion of Children and Youth with Disabilities in Armenia: University of Minnesota - Armenian State Pedagogical University Partnership, a project of ICI's Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education (GRC), culminates in the "Path to Inclusion" international symposium in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The symposium will mark the official end of the project, present its achievements, highlight jointly-developed products, and help chart a path forward for inclusive education in the country.
The symposium, like the project, is sponsored by UNICEF Armenia and will be attended by officials from UNICEF, federal and local government, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and schools, as well as parents. ICI's Renáta Tichá, who co-directs the project with Brian Abery, will deliver the keynote address, along with her Armenian counterpart, Marianna Harutyunyan. "This is the first time that UNICEF Armenia has funded a university-to-university partnership to address the lack of inclusion in the Armenian schools," says Tichá. "It will provide faculty, teachers, and parents with best practices for including students with disabilities, based on strategies initially implemented in the U.S. educational system and adapted for the Armenian context."
The focal point of the symposium will be the unveiling of the products developed through the project. These include: (1) Inclusive Education Strategies: A Textbook, an Armenian/English language publication written by 13 U.S. and 12 Armenian authors; (2) revision of four Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) courses on inclusion for general and special education personnel; (3) three webinars that focus on supporting students with mild and more significant disabilities, as well as peer-assisted learning strategies; (4) three learning modules, one each on co-teaching, Universal Design for Learning, and instructional strategies for inclusive classrooms; and (5) Education for Every Child: Armenia's Path to Inclusion, a 27-minute documentary film by ICI's Jerry Smith about the project and Armenia's progress in including students with disabilities.