I had the pleasure of hosting Victor Calise, Commissioner at New York City Mayor’s office for people with disabilities when he visited Wellington on Monday 10 September to attend meetings with the Council and District Health Board. Victor had been the keynote speaker at the Universal Design conference in Auckland on 6-7 September and as such, shared a lot of valuable information about how New York is moving towards becoming a fully accessible and inclusive city.

Here’s the bio Victor shared on the Universal Design conference website.

“As Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Victor Calise tirelessly advocates for the disability community in all City decision-making.

Commissioner Calise chairs the Accessibility Committee of the City Building Code and leads efforts to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce through the NYC: ATWORK employment initiative. He also ensures that disability is at the forefront of technological developments including smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and digital accessibility.

Recognized as an expert on disability, the Commissioner frequently participates in national and international conferences. A dedicated public servant, Calise previously led efforts within the Department of Parks and Recreation to make the city’s park system one of the most complex in the world-universally accessible.”

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