Speech by Tommaso Daniele,
Vice-President of The European Blind Union (EBU), Italy

Opening session, Sunday 9 July 2000, 15.00 - 17.00

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here at this very interesting conference and a great honour to represent John Wall, President of the European Blind Union. The only problem I have is my English which is certainly not at international level.

I am lucky, though, because I have very little time available, about five minutes. I will use this time to express two very simple thoughts. The first is that the European Blind Union is pleased to co-operate with ICEVI and with all organisations that, just like ICEVI, tackle the problem of the education and vocational training of the blind with great seriousness and professionalism. Co-operation on such important themes is not only useful but absolutely necessary too.

The second thought is that the European Blind Union is very interested in the theme of this conference: "Visions and Strategies for the New Century". The challenges that the blind have to face today are indeed many and sometimes so great they frighten us. To give just one example, new digital technologies are a great resource for mankind because they break barriers and reduce distances, but if these new technologies are not made accessible to all, they will become a new form of exclusion. Therefore dialogue and discussion are the best arms to use against these new enemies. In fact dialogue and discussion make us aware of the seriousness of problems and help us to find the ways and means to overcome them. As you know the blind are not asking for the moon. They are only asking for equal opportunities to study, work and have relationships just like everyone else. This is still a far-off goal for many. For some it is even a forbidden dream. I will conclude by expressing the wish that this conference can raise hope for a better future in the hearts of the blind all over the world.

Italian Union of the Blind
Via Borgognona 38
Roma 00187, Italy
Fax: +39 066 9988 328
E-mail: inter@uiciechi.it

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