Israeli ambassador and deputy permanent representative David Roet, initiated a feast of senses as part of the UN's "Enable" conference that was held in New York. Participating in the feast, were 30 diplomats from around the world. The feast was hosted by Access Israel representatives. In addition, multiple meetings were held at the conference with Access Israel in order to increase international co-operation in the fields of accessibility and integration of persons with disabilities.
The UN is currently cooperating with dozens of organizations unified under the "Enable" union, and discusses all matters regarding persons with disabilities, Such as accessibility, assistive technology, education, security and employment.
For the first time ever, the Israeli UN delegation invited 30 other delegations from around the world to partake in the Israeli event, a "feast of senses", hosted by Access Israel.
A feast of senses is a unique experience, an emotional experience based on close and personal simulation of the loss of senses or a disability. More than a simple gastronomic experience, a feast of senses aims to promote awareness to accessibility and help people understand, if only for a moment, the world of persons with disabilities who wish to experience everything, just like people without disabilities.
The diplomats have gone through an exhilarating experience: First, walking blindfolded into the room where the feast was held, in a "Train" formation with their hand resting on the shoulder of the person in front of them. They were led to their spots and began to examine their surroundings without seeing anything. Still blindfolded, they were served the first course. For the main course, they wore large gloves, limiting their movements and making arbitrary tasks like holding silverware, a challenge. The diplomats chose the final course from various desserts that were on offer – While wearing noise-cancelling headphones.
Access Israel representatives, with persons with disabilities within their ranks, accompanied the feast with fascinating explanations and insight – both serious and entertaining, about the experience they were about to have. In addition to the experiential meeting with the diplomats our representatives also met up with Commissioner Victor Calise of New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. They will also meet representatives of the MOMA museum and with the New York City's accessibility counselor in charge of accessibility in parks and public areas.
Michal Ramon, CEO of Access Israel and a member of the delegation claims:"While the state of Israel has a long way to go until it is fully accessible for all kinds of disabilities, Israeli society and specifically Access Israel have much to be proud of, and we are glad to rise up to the challenge and promote these important issues on a global level, and promote Israel as an accessible state, in a positive light, in a humane and experiential manner.
Photos on behalf of The Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN.