2022年1月5日 1 5, 2022 EVENT REPORT TALK workshops
Event Report: 12.14 GFD Diversity Series: The Role of Universities in Creating More Inclusive Societies インクルーシブな社会を実現するための大学の役割
Speaker: Mark Bookman
On December 14, 2021, GFD had the honor of hosting a 2-part workshop given by Dr. Mark R. Bookman. Dr. Bookman is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Tokyo College. His research explores the history of disability policy and connected social movements in Japanese and global contexts. Outside the academy, Mark works as a disability policy consultant. He has collaborated with government and corporate entities around the globe, as well as international organizations like the UN, on projects related to inclusive education, equitable environments, and disaster risk management.
In the first part of the workshop, Dr. Bookman gave an extensive lecture on the history of disability in Japan, from the Meiji Restoration era to the present time. It was both inspiring and educational to learn about the ways Japanese society has been trying to implement more "soft" and "hard" accessibility measures for people with special needs and disabilities. These positive changes were reflected on various dimensions: education, employment, and transportation, among others. At the same time, he also talked about the significance of having a conversation between Japan and other countries to build more inclusive environments at all levels of society. Furthermore, Dr. Bookman emphasized that the university is a key place to have the conversation of inclusion. The university, from all the disciplines and perspectives that such a place hold and foster, can contribute to knowledge and the actualization of that knowledge by changing the way we approach the inclusion of people with disabilities. We, the members of the university must acknowledge and act in accordance to role we play in society by getting everyone to learn more about disabilities and how they impact an individual's daily activities.
The second part of the workshop focused on the practical strategies for inclusion that need to be adopted inside the university campus. By discussing questions such as "Have you developed curricula with disabled students or collaborated with disabled faculty members?” Dr. Bookman urged the participants to reflect on the role they could have played to turn their classrooms into a space to advance diversity and equity projects.
Given that Dr. Bookman focused largely on people with physical disabilities in his workshop, I look forward to hearing more about his experiences and opinions on creating more inclusive environments for people with other special needs.