AADISAO conferences provide a forum for disability professionals (researchers, educators, social workers, caregivers, etc) and self-advocates from and across Africa to share their work, learn from each other, and collaborate on issues that impact the quality of life of people with disabilities all across the continent of Africa.

The Conference Planning Committee is excited to announce the speakers for the 2023 AADISAO Annual Conference.

Photo of John Tschida AUCD Executive Director

Keynote Speaker - John Tschida

John Tschida, MPP is the executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). He has spent more than 20 years using data and research to drive policy change and service development for individuals with disabilities. Before joining AUCD in February of 2017 as associate executive director, he was appointed as director if the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. NIDILRR is the federal government's premier applied research agency impacting individuals with disabilities. Prior to joining NIDILRR in 2014, he served as director of public policy and innovation at Allina Health in Minnesota, where he helped integrate medical and community-based services for people with disabilities. At the Courage Center, Minnesota's leading nonprofit provider of rehabilitation services, Mr. Tschida was vice president of public affairs and research. There, he built and directed a public policy and research team that focused on defining and achieving better outcomes for people with disabilities. He also led a statewide, cross-disability legislative coalition of more than 100 provider and advocacy organizations. Earlier in his career, Tschida served as a research fellow at the National Rehabilitation Hospital Center for Health and Disability Research, in Washington, D.C. He was also assistant director of the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Office. Mr. Tschida has served on a number of public and private boards designing policy or governance solutions to further the independence of people with disabilities and he has written numerous articles on disability and public policy for national and local publications. Mr. Tschida, who has lived with a spinal cord injury since 1993, has a master's degree in public policy and a health services research certificate from Georgetown University, and a bachelor of arts from Macalester College.

Photo of Vanessa Nakitende

Guest Speaker - Vanessa Nakitende

Vanessa Nakitende is the Founder of Siloam:256, a community interest company which works to empower young people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing through vocational skills training in order for them to become financially independent. By working with the Deaf community in Mukono, Uganda, Siloam:256 raises awareness of the skills of the Deaf community and presents their abilities through the amazing products the young people make during training sessions. By focusing on disability inclusion, Vanessa has been able to put her MSc Global Health degree to good use. Vanessa further took to the stage of Miss Uganda UK 2022 to amplify a silent voice and raise awareness of the needed of the Deaf community especially the need for all to learn the sign language of their region to help create a more inclusive environment. When she is not at steering the team at Siloam:256, Vanessa is an avid traveller and loves exploring new countries or taking in a Broadway show.

Our Mission Statement

AADISAO’s mission is to promote inclusive disability policies and practices, support collaborations and partnerships while advancing education, interdisciplinary training, leadership, and sound research on disability issues in Africa. [ About Us ]