Down Syndrome International would like to say a big Thank You to everyone who took part in World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March 2012! This year marked the 7th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and for the first time in 2012 this day was officially observed by the United Nations. The celebrations were unprecedented and on a truly global scale and we hope that people with Down syndrome, their families, friends and everyone who works and lives with them were able to share our message of inclusion and participation in society with as many people as possible, while enjoying your events and activities.
World Down Syndrome Website
Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. But there is still so much more we can do. Down Syndrome International encourages our friends all over the World to choose your own themes, activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. The internet is a powerful tool for raising awareness and we encourage people to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day through your own websites, blogs and social networking sites. However, we want to create a single meeting place where everyone can share their experiences and advertise their activities. For this purpose we have a dedicated website www.worlddownsyndromeday.org. For 2012, we re-launched this website with new features and you are now able to register with us and upload details of your activities and events to share with the global community. With your help we were able to publish 244 events and stories from 61 countries and on 21 March, 21,570 people visited the website, that is approximately 1 person every 4 seconds. This is a remarkable achievement which everyone who joined in can take credit for! Through this we were able to create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome on 21 March.
Global Video Event
Following the success of our Global Video Event “Let Us In!” in 2011, DSi launched a new Global Video Event for 2012 called "Let Us In - I Want To Learn!". Down syndrome advocacy groups and organisations from 68 countries participated, up from 45 in 2011. You can Watch The 2012 Video here and Watch The 2011 Video here. On 21 March 2012, our Global Video Event was viewed 18,947 times, that is approximately once every 4.5 seconds, and this further helped us to create a single global voice for people with Down syndrome on 21 March.
World Down Syndrome Day Awards
Following our successful Awards in 2010 and 2011, DSi announced WDSD Awards again in 2012 to recognise people, groups or organisations who have strengthened and enriched the lives of people with Down syndrome or who have contributed to scientific advancement related to Down syndrome. Please click on the link above for further details.
World Down Syndrome Day on Facebook and Twitter
For 2012 we launched a new WDSD Facebook Fan Page. This operates in partnership with the existing WDSD Facebook Group and the WDSD Facebook Event which was attended by 7,184 people in 2012. We have also launched a WDSD Twitter page which we welcome you to follow. We encouraged you to lend your support to us in 2012 through social media and you responded by liking, joining, attending, sharing, mentioning, tweeting and re-tweeting on 21 March. Many thanks to all our Facebook and Twitter friends.
"Building Our Future" Conference at the United Nations - 21 March 2012
On 21 March 2012, self-advocates from Australia, Brazil, Peru, Spain and United States and specialists from every continent discussed inclusive education, human rights and political participation, independent living, how to work with the media and scientific research, among other topics, in the first celebration of World Down Syndrome Day at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Conference was organised by Down Syndrome International with the sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations, UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/ DSPD/ DESA, and UNICEF. DSi would like to thank everyone who took part in this event both in New York and worldwide through the UN Webcast. You can watch the UN Webcast again and check out the Conference Programme here.
United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day
In December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year, and invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome. For further information visit the United Nations World Down Syndrome Day Website. To read Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's World Down Syndrome Day message Click Here.
Messages of our Patrons
"World Down Syndrome Day takes place on 21 March every year. This date (21/3) represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome.” Damon Hill OBE 1996 Formula One World Champion Patron – Down Syndrome International
“The aims of World Down Syndrome Day are to promote awareness and understanding, seek international support, and to achieve dignity, equal rights and a better life for people with Down syndrome everywhere.” Muttiah Muralitharan Record breaking Sri Lankan cricketer Patron – Down Syndrome International
“Activities and events held on World Down Syndrome Day can have a tremendous impact, showcasing the abilities, talents and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. I encourage you all to tell the World what you are doing to celebrate this important day.” Liam Neeson OBE Oscar nominated actor Patron – Down Syndrome International