During the EASPD 20th Anniversary celebration Gala Dinner at the European Parliament on 19th October 2016, EASPD gave Honorary Lifetime Achievements awards to two very important persons that have made a great contribution to society through their work.
The First award was given to for Ms. Marie-José Schmitt. Marie-José Schmitt created in 1973 the first Center for autistic children in the south of France, called " La Bourguette", and later on, different centres for adults, farms where they live and participate in farm activites. She has been involved in the work of the UNO since 1979 where they planed the World Programme for Persons with disabilities 1980-1990. She stated that at the time "we insisted on the word '" persons", because as persons we all have rights and I could participate in the different steps leading to the CRPD, Human rights for persons with disabilities and we now have to work on the implementation of these human rights for all." She also participated in the development of many other policies and working group including the review provess of the WHO Classification, the drafting of the UNCRPD, the work of the Disability Unit of the Council of Europe for the monitoring of the Disability Action Plan (2006-2016) and the drafting of the new disability strategy of the Council of Europe.
The other award was given to Professor Gerard Quinn. Professor Gerard Quinn is a professor of law at the National University of Ireland (Galway). He currently sits on the scientific committee (advisory board) of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (Vienna). He has worked as a temporary civil servant in the European Commission (EU) on equality policy and also rose to be First Vice President of the Council of Europe’s Social Rights Committee (a treaty monitoring body on economic and social rights in Europe). He has been working in the field of disability for 30 years now and he underlined the developments that have led over the years to a shift towards the social model which focuses on the personhood and autonomy of persons with disabilities as well as their inclusion in the community.
The award sculptures were realised by artists from the centre La Gabrielle which were also present at the Gala Dinner.