Aug. 25, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - An honorary doctorate has been conferred by Peru's National University of Education upon Gordon L. Porter, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, and director of Inclusive Education Initiatives with the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL).
The ceremony was held earlier this month at the Museum of National Culture in Lima, Peru, during the opening session of an international conference on inclusive education organized by the Ministry of Education of Peru. Porter was a keynote speaker at the conference.
The university honoured Porter in recognition of his contribution to the development of inclusive education as a concept and practice in Peru. During the last decade, his work has been critical to developing the mandate of inclusion that has been adopted as a priority by Peru's Ministry of Education.
"I am very honoured to receive this degree," said Porter. "For me, it signals the increasing recognition throughout the world of the benefits of inclusion. This is something in which New Brunswick was a pioneer. We should be proud of this, and we should continue to work to make inclusion a reality for all students."
A retired professor and internationally known expert on inclusive education, Porter's work in inclusion has influenced educational practices around the world. In addition to Peru, he has consulted and taught on inclusive education in more than a dozen countries, including New Zealand, South Africa, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvadore, Bolivia and a number of francophone African countries, as well as Canada and the U.S.
Idel Vexler, vice-minister of education of Peru, described Porter as the father of inclusive education, in recognition of his work with teachers, school directors, parents, officials and political leaders. In 2008, Porter spoke at a forum on inclusive education held at the Peruvian National Congress. In addition to a number of sessions at various institutions in Lima, he has conducted sessions in the Peruvian cities of Trujillo, Huacho and Chilca.
"This is a very well-deserved honour for an incredible man who has devoted his life to ensuring that children with disabilities can thrive in any classroom, and contribute to the achievement of all students," said Marlene Munn, president of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL). "Dr. Porter has been leading the charge for inclusion in New Brunswick for many years. Thanks to him, New Brunswick is recognized as a world leader in inclusive education. NBACL is very proud to count him as one of its own, and is even more pleased that he has received this international recognition."
A native of Woodstock, Porter received a doctor of civil laws degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1989 in recognition of his work with persons with disabilities. He was appointed a member of the Human Rights Commission in 2001, and has been its chair since May 2005. He is a longtime member of NBACL and CACL, and has held a number of positions with both organizations.
The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is responsible for administering the Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination, based on 14 grounds, in employment, housing, public services, certain associations and publicity.
The NBACL is a non-profit organization which works on behalf of children and adults with an intellectual disability, and their families. NBACL was formed in 1957, and has 16 local branches throughout New Brunswick.
The National University of Education in Peru is often called La Cantuta. It specializes in education and administration, and is the most important teacher training institution in Peru.
MEDIA CONTACT: Francis Young, human rights officer, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, 506-453-2308, 1-888-471-2233, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.