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Greeting of the President of the World Blind Union

photo Maryanne DiamondDear friends of braille,

I cannot imagine life without braille. Reflecting back over my life, I feel extremely fortunate to have learned to read and write braille as a young child. My use of braille was, I believe, a major factor in the success I have had in my education, employment and participation in the community.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the CRPD) includes the right of access to education and identifies braille as an indispensable medium of communication for those of us who are blind. The development of literacy, the support of lifelong learning and the accessibility to knowledge are today achievable objectives for all of us. Braille has continuously developed over the last 200 years to meet our needs, but the accelerating pace of change and the explosion of information we all now experience requires a fresh and innovative approach to the future of Braille as a vibrant medium for the 21st century.

Like many millions of people who are blind or have low vision, I am forever in debt to Louis Braille for the legacy he left us. The World Congress Braille21 will rise to the challenge of ensuring that braille is a fundamental means of communication for those of us who are blind in an ever changing world. It is up to all of us to ensure that braille is produced, taught and affordable to those who choose to use it in the future.

I am looking forward to Braille21 – and to meet you all there

Maryanne Diamond

President of the World Blind Union

Braille-Ambassador

picture Kerstin Nitzsche

Kerstin Nitzsche (47),
Leipzig/Germany

»It is absolutely important that braille will be available on paper also in future: I myself am not allowed to work with the computer and the braille display due to a disease – therefore, I depend on the paper form.«

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