European University Cyprus is the only academic institution in Cyprus which has recently signed “The Bologna Declaration Unlocking Human Potential: A Call for Action to Improve Access to Quality Assistive Technology for Realising Fundamental Human Rights and Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in a Fully Inclusive Manner” (https://aaate.net/the-bologna-declaration/). The declaration is a product of the collaboration between distinguished academics and international associations’ representatives in the field of Disability and Technology, who attended the High-Level Meeting in Bologna, Italy, on the 27th of August 2019, in order to discuss a rights-based approach to Assistive Technology. The High-Level Meeting was held as a pre-conference event at the 15th AAATE 2019 Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE), which took place in Bologna on the 28-30 of August 2019.
Today, millions of citizens are disabled by inaccessible environments, products or services and/or they lack access to appropriate assistive technology (AT). That is in sharp contrast with what is technically possible, and available, in many places. This contrast is not acceptable as AT represents a fundamental tool to support equal opportunities and full participation in all aspects of life; both essential ingredients for inclusive societies. The signatories of the Bologna Declaration call upon all stakeholders who have an influence on policy and practice relating to assistive technology provision, to take measures to improve access to high quality assistive technology solutions, for everyone who might benefit from them, everywhere in the world and irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or cause of disability.
The AAATE Board under the Presidency (2020-2022) of Dr Katerina Mavrou of European University Cyprus aims to promote an international collaboration between all stakeholders for a joint effort in bridging this gab for both citizens and societies.