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Burton Blatt Institute International Conference to focus on impact of Japanese earthquake on disabled

June 23, 2011

Anthony Adornato
(315) 443-6173

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University and the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Economics will hold a joint conference on SU’s campus June 29 and 30 on issues related to disability and economics. The University of Tokyo’s Research on Economy and Disability (READ) project leadership team will visit BBI’s Syracuse offices for the two-day event.

BBIThe international conference brings together leading researchers from Japan and the United States to examine how economic forces affect the lives of persons with disabilities. The conference participants will address how economic policy models and practice may improve opportunities for people with disabilities to engage in everyday life.

Building on prior efforts of BBI after Hurricane Katrina, as well as crises in Israel, part of the conference will focus on the economic and personal impact of the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, including a particular emphasis on vulnerable groups such as the disabled, the elderly and children in times of disaster. BBI’s longstanding work in the area of disaster mitigation for people with disabilities is particularly timely, given the devastating natural disaster in Japan.

University Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of BBI, and Tokyo economics Professor Akihiko Matsui, READ chair, will jointly host the meeting. “This is a great opportunity to share international approaches for addressing economic barriers facing millions of people with disabilities worldwide, and to stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue,” says Blanck.

Blanck has traveled to Japan several times to lecture and consult with leading Japanese academics, NGOs for people with disabilities, and government officials who are developing a new Japanese disability anti-discrimination law similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to Matsui and Blanck, speakers include David Stapleton, director of Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy and a leader in studies of Social Security Administration programs and the employment and income of people with disabilities; and Susan Parrish, the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Disability Policy and director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

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