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Multi-Faceted Collaboration at IFES AGENDA Regional Dialogue

International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES, Since 1987The Institute on Disability and Public Policy participated in a multitude of ways at the ASEAN General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) Regional Dialogue organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) on 1-2 February 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The theme for this inaugural year was “Enhancing the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities – Promoting Election Access for All.”

IDPP/COTELCO supported full virtual participation at the conference, an outcome of its collaboration with IFES.

IDPP/COTELCO Director of Technology Clyde White Jr. worked closely with IFES staff to coordinate and help make virtual participation at this event a success.

IDPP Executive Director Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn spoke virtually and IDPP Executive Committee member Dr. Irwanto, Professor and founder of the Center for Disability Studies at the University of Indonesia, spoke in person at the plenary session "Research on Disability Inclusion” on 2 February 2012 at 10am Jakarta Time (1 February at 10pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The session highlighted academic initiatives and explored possibilities for new research on issues of concern to persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia. The session focused in particular on developing a research agenda that can inform public policy on issues of political participation for persons with disabilities in the ASEAN region.

In addition, Mr. Joni Yulianto, IDPP Program Coordinator for Outreach and Capacity Building, participated physically at the conference, as chair of the plenary session “Research on Disability Inclusion” as well as in an outreach and networking role.

IFES regularly webcasts its events, in which members of the online audience can write or tweet questions. However, IFES was exploring ways to include full virtual participation, including the ability to see and hear participants from their remote location, which IDPP’s cyberinfrastructure tools helped to achieve.

Over the past 13 years, COTELCO has researched and used various webconferencing technologies to facilitate geographically-distributed collaboration for its projects and among constituents, partners, and external organizations globally. More recently, the IDPP has successfully implemented innovative configurations of webconferencing technologies to support its initiatives, including offering accessible Master's courses to geographically distributed students. Through partnerships such as this one with IFES, the expertise COTELCO and the IDPP hold in accessible cyberinfrastructure and cyberlearning tools continue to help reduce barriers in live participation at conferences, meetings, and courses around the world.

AGENDA is a partnership project between IFES; the Indonesia Disabled Peoples Association - Persatuan Penyandang Cacat Indonesia (PPCI); the Center for Election Access of Citizens with Disabilities - Pusat Pemilihan Umum Akses Penyandang Cacat (PPUA Penca); and the People's Voter Education Network - Jaringan Pendidikan Pemilih untuk Rakyat (dan JPPR).

AGENDA aims to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia. It helps facilitate an increasing quality of democracy by resolving the obstacles to participate in democratic processes, including the participation of persons with disabilities to vote and be elected.