Panourgias Papaioannou


Mr Papaioannou is a young activist for the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities and an educational leader. He has been selected as a Humanity in Action Fellow and the representative of Greece in the 21st Asia-Europe Foundation Summer University with the topic of "Youth with Disabilities.Shaping Inclusive ASEM Societies". Moreover he has worked for big multinational companies as a Project Manager and Trainer. Mr. Papaioannou has been a scholarship holder from the Austrian Ministry of Education. Finally he has participated, chaired and organised several Model UN and EU simulation conferences.

1. What do you think is the main reason why some people don't care about your topic?

People with disabilities have been historically excluded from their equal access to education, health care and civil engagement. The last century we can see the big change on the issue where in the Europe, North America and Oceania governments along with the NGO's are trying to legislate so as to ensure the equal opportunities along with the access of the labour market. People tend to focus on their problems and are not socially active. As a result the priority and the funding Is given somewhere else and people believe that the state is taking care of all the citizens which indeed is not true.So I would say lack of information is the main reason why people don't care about the topic.

2. If you were the president/prime minister of your country for one day, what would you change about this topic?

There are specific measures that are needed to be established. Equal access to education for all the people with and without disabilities, the establishment of personal assistants for the people that are in need and focus on the integration of the people with disabilities in the labour market. Accessible buildings and schools and the state websites should have the option to zoom in/out and also have the voice option. Finally I would make sure that the sign language of the country is officially recognised as one of the state languages and that interpretation is being offered.

3. Do you have a personal motto?

It is our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. - Aristotle.

4. Can you share some links to talks or texts, or name literature that you can recommend to any starting activist?

I believe that the starting point for all the activists that are based in Europe would have been The European Disability Forum link and for the internationals I would recommend The International Disability Alliance.


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