michael-j-fox-named-one-of-global-50-2016Powerful Media and Shaw Trust have announced a list of the 50 most influential disabled people globally, ahead of an international disability empowerment conference starting tomorrow Edinburgh.

The inaugural Global List will be launched at the 23rd Rehabilitation International World Congress (RIWC) on Tuesday 25 October, and celebrates the achievements of 50 of the most accomplished people living with disabilities or health impairments from across America, Africa, Europe and South America.

Entries onto the list include sporting heroes, artists, politicians, community leaders and successful business chiefs, to name just a few:

  • Madam Zhang Haidi, the President of the influential Chinese Federation of Disabled People, who lives with paraplegia, has been praised for her effective disability activism.
  • Michael J Fox, the well-known American actor who lives with Parkinson’s disease, and who has founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
  • Srikanth Bolla, a young CEO from India who founded Bollant Industries which employs disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly consumer packaging, and is worth Rs 50 crores (circa £6.1 million or $4.5 million).

Madam Haidi, who is also an accomplished writer and translator, will this year be assuming the role of president of Rehabilitation International Global at the conclusion of the Congress on Thursday 27 October. Madam Haidi was elected to the role as the term for previous RI Global president, Jan A. Monsbakken of Norway came to an end.

The list was chosen by the editorial team at Powerful Media which looked for individuals who make a positive impact, help change lives, campaign to make a difference, or through their careers have made an outstanding contribution to society.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, Shaw Trust’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are extremely proud to sponsor The Global List and highlight these exceptionally talented, hardworking and inspirational people who have positively impacted so many lives.

“To be able to launch such a publication at the 23rd Rehabilitation International World Congress, where we will be promoting disability empowerment and building towards a fully inclusive world, is a special honour.”

Katherine Deal, Editor of the Global List, added:

“We recognize that all lists such as this are ultimately subjective, but we also believe the Global List are incredible role models who are to be celebrated for their fantastic achievements. We believe also that this would still be case if they were not disabled.

“From Neema Namadamu, a Polio survivor who founded Maman Shujaa Media Centre to empower women in the Congo; to Johnathan Bastos, a Brazilian pianist who was born without arms, this list contains some of the most inspirational people that we have ever come across.”

The Rehabilitation International World Congress, which is taking place from 25-27 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, is a four-yearly event which brings together disabled people, policy makers, service providers and academics from across the globe. This year it is hosted by Shaw Trust, and will focus on how to create a more inclusive and accessible world for people of all abilities and backgrounds.

The Global List is published by Powerful Media, the London-based publishing house that also publishes The Power 100 – which showcases 100 of the UK’s most influential disabled people and includes such luminaries as Stephen Hawkins and Paralympian Ellie Simmons. This year’s Power 100 will be released later this year.