UN-CRPD Ambassador at UIBK: Connecting Teachers, Connecting Policy and Practice

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Dr. Agnieszka Kossowska of Opole University, who was honoured with the title Ambassador of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2017, visited the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) as guest lecturer from October 7-10, 2019.

During her doctoral work on inclusive education in Poland, former EDiTE researcher at ULS and currently postdoctoral assistant at UIBK, Josefine Wagner profited greatly from Agnieszka’s personal and professional insights into Polish education policy and practice. Together with disability studies professor Lisa Pfahl, Josefine invited Agnieszka to UIBK to lecture on the topic of Educational Justice for Children with a Special Educational Needs Status.

Also, Dipl.-Päd., Dipl.-Soz. Julia Biermann drew on Agnieszka’s expertise and invited her to speak on The Rights of Children and People with Disabilities in Poland and Europe. Furthermore, Agnieszka and Josefine visited EDiTE partner school VS Innere Stadt and principal Mag. Eva Nora Hosp to learn about transformative and inclusive teaching practice. Eva Nora has been an inspiring and courageous principal for over 15 years, who has built a faculty that is open to cross-national educational projects for the benefit of all children. Agnieszka who also founded the educational initiative FREE – Fundacja Rozwoju Edukacji  Empatycznej (Foundation for Empathetic Education) which functions as a school for children with and without special needs enjoyed the hands-on examples of Montessori pedagogy in action at the VS Innere Stadt and is looking forward to building training and cooperation opportunities between Polish and Austrian teachers. Also students of both schools could engage in language and cultural projects via modern technology or exchange visits.

Lots of great ideas are in the making here and we hope to continue to draw from the ties EDiTE has fostered!

Key words: UN-CRPD; Inclusion; school partnerships; disability studies

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