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The Joyous Imperatives of R.E.S.P.E.C.T
Both as a Theme and a Tool or Technology For Full Multistakeholder Inclusion in Information and Communication Networks
Both Now and In the Future:

Highlighting the Key Roles of Persons with Disabilities in Collaborative Contexts World-Wide.

Dr.Linda D.Misek-Falkoff


Ⅰ.RESPECT as High Value Theme

picture of linda

With ICT-4-ALL as a vision, the mission of this presentation is to communicate why it is and will always be absolutely essential that Persons with Disabilities be active participants in all aspects and all phases of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Design, Development, and Delivery-and for the good of everyone not simply 'receive' finished outcomes.

We respond to the oft stated need and desire for a cross-domain paradigm to provide commonality at levels of concepts and language as well. Here we present one, time tested in industry and academe, adaptable by anyone in multiple ways to stay focused while at the same time keeping room for creativity and multiple input and feedback.

In this paper, we observe the special value of the word "RESPECT" both as a theme and as a framework (here denoted as R.E.S.P.E.C.T.).

*Respectful interfaces* has two parts: mutual respect for values; and, also, respect for the phases of development it takes to instantiate values, both on our own part and on the part of others as well.

We retain the conventional spelling, "Respect," when referring to themes. But, separated by periods the term reveals a tool and technology, commonly called a framework, paradigm, or model (here meta-model synthesizing many models), and we derive "R.E.S.P.E.C.T.." which looks to human interaction as well as ICT systems and how they operate at the interfaces respectfully and with rigor.

It is encoded in the annals of computer science that systems degrade at the interfaces. In the *Respectful Interfaces* approach we say that respectfully maintained systems blossom at the interfaces and improve over time and in application, consistent with everything about us as human beings with us as individuals. We glean from the Internet currently a helpful online statement on requirements of interconnectivity, with RESPECT as a key theme echoing through all aspects of ICT-4-ALL at WSIS and quite generally. Peter Day writes in 2003, with reference to the Community Informatics work of Michael Gurstein:

Promoting social dialogue through communication that valorises diversity is crucial to the human-centered approach. Social cohesion requires management of difference through respect and trust. Building a communication space in which knowledge can be exchanged within and between diverse cultures is a central goal of a human-centered community technology approach. [Underlining Supplied].

In braod, this presentation emphasizes why it is essential for People with Disabilities (PWD) to be integral in all aspects and all phases of all that affects us, with concentration on information communication technologies.

The International-the Global-Disability Community is in or own time already acting as an advance steward, notice marker , and model, for any and all earth constituencies that people can indeed assemble on a human rights-respecting basis to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate, including on the Internet, just as the ITC-4-ALL platform of this historic conference aspires to.

These precepts of course call for our scrutiny of what we mean by "4 ALL." As recently as November 5, 2005, U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan has phrased (here in the Washington Post) the principles of broad inclusiveness which inspire this present convening, with its pledge and promise of realizing in actual progress the prior elucidated principles and more abstract plans of WSIS.

Whether in aspects of governance or access, law or culture as vital concerns, we must be active (and are already active) in all aspects and phases of all topics that concern us. Even with our present good momentum, we are just at the dawn of our leadership, with others coming to consult with us from the general good across the social compact in all communities interlocked, interlinked, interconnected-globally networked.

I urge all stakeholders to come to Tunis ready to bridge the digital divide and ready to build an open, inclusive information society that enriches and empowers all people.

And, prior, in his communication to the 59th General Assembly March 2005 (A/59/2005), S.G. Annan explores a worldview conceived "In Larger Freedom":

We will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without RESPECT for human rights [emphasis added].

This signal observation resonates with the WSIS-I Geneva Declaration of Principles:

We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and RESPECT for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen RESPECT for the rule of law in international as in national
We further reaffirm our commitment to the provisions of Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of their personality is possible, and that, in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and RESPECT for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. In this way, we shall promote an Information Society where human dignity is RESPECTed. ... [Emphasis Added].

Also consonant with the GENEVA PLAN FOR ACTION:

[C8 / 23]. Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating RESPECT for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation. It is an important factor for sustainable development. ...
Create policies that support the RESPECT, preservation, promotion and enhancement of cultural and linguistic diversity and cultural heritage within the Information Society, as reflected in relevant agreed United Nations documents ...

On point, we in not only the future but indeed the present global disability community have the honor of living this dream now. The International Disability Caucus lead by DPOs (organizations of persons with disabilities) works daily in online convenings from all over the world in putting forth the values and concrete requirements of he designees to benefit from the International Disability Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. "Nothing about us without us," and as cognates, 'everything about us with us',

This quest is addressed by Respect in two senses ?that of an (itself) highly respected value term: "RESPECT," and as project or enterprise management framework: R.E.S.P.E.C.T., as next described; currently employed in multiple venues though the * Respectful Interfaces* Programme and welcoming all new "RESPITES"participants and discussants.

Ⅱ. RESPECT As a Tool and Technology

The Respect Framework as pertinent to the GDF Forum Context and more broadly as well, as compatible with enterprises of all sorts and dimensions, provides a way to organize and keep in focus and in the forefront the vital role which pwd should and must take in our own lives. Increasingly, we find this value of inclusion in depth being recognized. But to sustain the momentum it helps to have an organizing framework. Therefore Respect both as a theme and as a tool and technology serves us well.

As regards principles of universal design and ease of use, even without graphic representation the Respect Matrix, one can imagine seven columns spread across a page, and these are labeled with the individual letters: R E S P E C T. These letters are abbreviations for the following terms and suggest synonyms and related terms as well. R is requirements, E(1) is equipping, S is specifications, P is planning, E(2) is executing, C is checking, T is transfer. These are the major phases of many project and program and development models, succinctly simplified to be memorable and enforceable.

"R" for Requirements might also be thought of as aims, goals and objectives. (We don't just now say needs simply there are needs across the board at all phases of doing things).

"E" (1) for Equipping can also be thought of as resources, which we know to get anything done and done well will always include intellectual, mental, emotional, and spiritual mind sets toward action on values as well as budgets! But let us not minimize the important of funding and equipment.

"S" for specifications can also be thought of as broad design, or concepts and major points, leading to

"P" for Planning or Action-Plan evolution, then

"E" (2) executed or implemented, after and during which

"C" for checking suggests monitoring, (which might not mean evaluating) and evaluating, appraisal depending on what we wish to include in checking steps and activities

"T" then follows with the attendant joys and responsibilities of "transfer" which means delivery and output of whatever products and processes we have evolved which are ready to share while revising our programs and parameters.

(Nor need we follow in strict order but instead be ready to spot issues in all territories since we do have an overall map).

So these are the columns in our matrix or table.

For any activity or aspect of life affecting PWD, PWD, PWD must be involved. We cannot, will not, simply be the subjects at "T" time with the result of R E S P E and C delivered to us passively without recourse.

But now we put the rows to our matrix or table (see Exhibits).

In the Disability Convention so far, we first had 25 rows in the table, one for each successively numbered Article, and these indicate aspects of living.

Where the rows and columns meet or intersect, in other words in that cell on the table, we must and do strive for a YES or TRUE or + to be written to indicate inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in that phase of the Convention and eventual Treaty on states parties signing and ratification. For every aspect of life, "PWD" absolutely must be included. Sometimes we say: 'in design as well as implementation'. Sometimes we say: 'as to goals and as to outcome.'

Next, let us consider the present status of the RESPECT Matrix regarding persons with disabilities. Do we not yet struggle to be part of everything that affects us, from R to T? Does not the ICT Draft sing of these virtues? Do not principles of universal design incorporate a multistakeholder perspective?

In ICT as well as at large, in the design of assistive and adjunctive technologies, software, hardware, courseware, and everywhere? Is it not the most practical thing to do as well as philosophically robust, and only right, for "PWD" to be active at every phase of inception, development, and transfer?

The principles of spiral design in software engineering have some special value here. In the old waterfall model, from the perspective of present project management concepts, the phases of development seemed too rigid; the intended "end-user" consulted only when a product was ready to deliver. But more current and may we say appropriate thinking is that one touches base with intended beneficiary-stakeholders of systems at each and every step on the path.

It makes sense in a human rights value scheme as well as for practical reasons of efficiency and effectiveness it has to be so.

Ⅲ.RESPECT and the International Disability Convention

We have illustrated RESPECTful Interfaces among cooperating entities as being essential, and as well as having our own R.E.S.P.E.C.Tful agendas, the importance of recognizing and appreciating the R.E.S.P.E.C.T.ful models that others may have in mind cannot be over emphasized.

For any topic which concerns us, we must have on board ready to request and expect inclusion in all phases the RESPECT cycle individuals who work together well and comprise a respectful team, immediately responsive to all issues and in solidarity in the long term while recognizing and indeed profoundly including diversity ?the observance of groups respectfully interlinking based on shared values which bridge across boundaries that guard autonomy and near-in indices of individuality.

Let us take an every day illustration fashioned for our context.

A meeting is to occur focusing on how Persons with Disabilities shall be included in the future development of the Internet and other communication saturated venues. Let us imagine our entire community collaborating on Requirements (aims, goals, etc, or visions and missions.) and let us envision IDA ?The International Disability Alliance - voicing outward our concerns as to objectives. Can we not now envision in considering requisite resources, our E(1) for equipping, in collaboration with the entirety gauging what we already have, what we need acquire by building, borrowing, or otherwise?Specifying conceptual elements might be undertaken by the IDC, based on mutually attractive practical Planning Designs with specific benchmarks contemplated. the International Disability Caucus for the Convention, just to illustrate. And supporters in United Nations Agencies and U.N. Departments and governmental committees themselves, or as liaisons to world-wide funding sources, in our example might serve as focal points of Execution (E2). IDA constituent member organizations could give strong voice to Checking ?whether monitoring or evaluation or both; and for Transfer into outcome actualities, the special knowledge experts on groups including women, children, intellectual or "invisible" disabilities and others sit at the table for us in From this illustration, it may be seen that the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. framework lends a technique to listening actively at any sort of meeting, as it is most unlikely the discussion will escape the voicing of concerns and issues based in one or more of the contexts we discuss here. And of course this illustration on the fly is not to be taken to limit the discussion to particular groups or individuals but rather to suggest that the broad dialogue needs a voice on each topic ?even where we are able to have just one person address a whole cycle.

So, is this illustration meant to fix our talents in one role for each?Not at all. Perhaps we will have just exactly one person with disabilities or their allies at the Table. Then because of the progress made even to date any one spokesperson might span the phases of R.E.S.P.E.C.T and of course convey the clear thematic thrust of the phase. We have such 'sole practitioners' of strength here among us right now.

In sum, persons with disabilities can and should be alert to and proud of the progress made so far and happening each day with increasing momentum through ICT and through good will to communicate, collaborate, in a coordinated way. And in the DPOs themselves including that which I represent, the convention-accredited Persons with Pain International, we are and will remain alert to the importance of RESPECT across the board; across the 'universe of discourse', through ICT and in all other ways we can think of, and others which spontaneously are born of interaction in its own right.

CONCLUSION on Interconnectivity By Choice and the WSIS Theme of ICT-4-ALL.

Up to now I have discussed phases of projects which phases interface with each other, and persons at phases, respectfully interfacing across phases and projects themselves. We add a few remarks with emphasis from graph notational concepts, noting in passing that our models here are extensible across other contexts and caucuses. And a few words about Choice.

Behind our dreams are weighty issues. Weighty questions who will be in networks, those who wish to be?Those thought to be ostensibly "politically correct Netizens"?Doubtless, sets will remain, and partitions, but they overlap and can have different set theoretical functions. Hence, imagine a large network of dots with arcs between them. Some subsets will be on governance, policy, technical matters. At each interface, it will be important to respect the perspectives and platforms of neighbor and distant constituents ?to be multivalent, and to speak some common "languages" on a very wide array of topics some easy and some hard to express through overt communications.

Interconnectivity, we observe, is a (nearly) universally voiced goal, but connectivity by choice of course and not forced, just as exclusion from networks is a form of "force," even if but metaphorically. But for the most part those whose yearnings to connect have been unsatisfied surely deserve connection as an option. There must be offerings based on equality, for those otherwise disenfranchised by the disconnects and the divides.

Prefatory to this very convening at WSIS-II in Tunis, the Summit Chair from ITU sets before us distinctly a special note on these values:

Mandated by its Constitution to "extend the benefits of the new telecommunication technologies to all the world's inhabitants", ITU has been a driving force behind the emergence of the Information Society. It has worked relentlessly for the past 140 years to harmonize national policies worldwide, bridge technological differences, foster interconnectivity of systems: in other words, making it possible for information and communication technologies to be offered on a global basis.
ICTs can connect individuals, small companies or groups of farmers and artisans in the poorest and most isolated areas of the world and bring them to the attention of national and even global markets. It makes it possible to leapfrog poor transport infrastructures so that distance from markets is no longer a drawback. ICTs can also improve governance by giving a voice to people who have been isolated, or have been invisible and silent, allowing them to speak out regardless of their economic status, their gender or where they live. [Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretary General of the Summit]. [Underlining Supplied].

Resonating, where the Summit Secretary's statement emphasizes interconnections, Respectful Interfaces is also about intersections. This has considered intersections or interfaces of Persons with Disabilities with others on an equal basis in all processes affecting us, including quite emphatically all information grounded technologies and the policies which underlie. It is respectful interfaces we are building, have built, and shall build. Even though our local matrices of concerns however we populate them with rows of persons, topics, or issues and the columns take us through the cycle of consideration and completion, at least for a time, we are really part of a hug and probably immeasurable lattice.

A huge epi-structure of nodes, arcs, and networks of networks just as language is a systems of systems, the linguist Sydney Lamb observed early in the advent of computerized textual analysis. Within that imaginable if pragmatically indeterminate lattice where many nodes are connected and not just up and down or sideways but across all sorts of wondrous borders of belief, most persons will be living in several sets of networks not just one or two.

Here arise both the complications of issues but also the fascination of analysis. Persons with Disabilities are already here. We are active, yet we are waiting, and the connections provided must be according to the language and modalities, formats and structures, of the persons to be reached, and reaching out, in amiable partnerships, at which interfaces we shall be roundly tested and we are ready.