The World Health Organization estimates 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. The sudden global outbreak of COVID-19 has created immediate challenges and heretofore unimaginable situations for people with disabilities to navigate.
What challenges do people with disabilities face because of coronavirus? How are organizations and educational institutions responding? What does the future after coronavirus hold for inclusivity? This panel of experts will address these questions and offer greater insight into this global issue.
This panel discussion will be held through a Zoom webinar at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time/6:30 p.m. India Standard time.
Moderator and Panelists
MODERATOR Michel Hockx, Director, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies
Michel Hockx joined the University of Notre Dame in 2016 as the founding director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and professor of Chinese literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts & Letters.
As Liu Institute director, Hockx leads the Liu Institute in its mission of providing a forum for integrated and multidisciplinary research and teaching about Asia. This includes promoting general awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Asia through events, research by students and 85 faculty fellows, and engagement with partners in Asia.
Hockx’s current research examines the effects of moral censorship on the production and preservation of modern Chinese cultural products. He has published widely, both in English and in Chinese, on topics related to modern Chinese poetry and literary culture. Additionally, Hockx specializes in cultural policy of the People’s Republic of China and has been widely quoted in major media on censorship challenges within Xi Jinping’s administration.
Before joining the University of Notre Dame, Hockx served as director of the China Institute at SOAS, University of London.
PANELIST Alex Montoya ‘96 ND, Motivational Speaker and Chief Motivation Officer, A-MOtivational Communications, San Diego
Alex Montoya ’96 ND is a motivational speaker, author of six books, and owner of A-MOtivational Communications in San Diego, California. Much of Montoya’s inspirational message addresses disability awareness and draws from his own experience of living with three prosthetic limbs.
A lecturer at such organizations as Google, NASA, and Harvard, Montoya has shared the stage with football star Drew Brees, journalist Soledad O’Brien, and band Imagine Dragons. He carried the Olympic torch for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Born in Colombia, Montoya is the recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Colombian government. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Diego Hispanic Chamber. As a TedX speaker, Montoya was named a Paul Harris Fellow for leadership by Rotary International. Montoya is on the board of directors for the Gurmilan Foundation, which supports people with disabilities in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, through grants and scholarships.
He earned a bachelor of arts in communication and theatre at the University of Notre Dame and an master’s from the University of San Francisco.
PANELIST Mala Ramadorai, Chairperson, Citi Academy for Special Education, Mumbai
Mala Ramadorai has been passionately involved with children and various aspects of teaching and learning for around 30 years. While gaining her master’s degree in education, she attended an international training course at the Golda Meir Institute in Israel for early literacy. Having worked in the renowned Campion School in Mumbai, Ramadorai went on to become the vice principal at the prestigious Bombay International School. Realizing the need for training in addressing the emotional needs of parents, teachers, and children, she earned a diploma in counseling.
Her last full-time job was as head of training at Schoolnet India.A board member of several trusts engaged in education, Ramadorai formerly served on the board of Reach to Teach, an NGO headquartered in the UK committed to enhancing the teacher-child interaction in the government-run schools in Gujarat, India.
From 2004, she has been the chairperson at Citi Academy for Special Education, the education therapy department of SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai, devoted to imparting education and life skills to children with a variety of learning difficulties.
PANELIST Neeta Verma, Robert P. Sedlack, Jr. Associate Professor of Visual Communication Design, University of Notre Dame
Neeta Verma situates herself within the porous discipline of visual communication design, viewing the profession of design both as service and collaboration aimed at social equity and justice. Throughout her research, she has defined her role and the role of design as one that serves as a catalyst within a societal context. She believes that designers have both the ability and responsibility toward a practice that is not just determined by “need,” but more importantly by “relevance.”
As an educator, Verma helps her students understand the context and social ecology within which their answers find congruency. Her areas of research and teaching focus on social design, examining the intersection of social innovation and collaborative practices, and visualization of data, explored within the context of aesthetics, ethics, and politics of representation.
Her current research focuses on designing for the visually impaired. She is an appointed faculty fellow at the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the Center for Social Concerns, and the Pulte Institute for Global Development, all at the University of Notre Dame.
This event is the third in the series Global Fragility and Pandemic: Insight from Asia and Notre Dame, sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Notre Dame International, and its Mumbai Global Center.