The Asian Federation on Intellectual Disabilities claims its roots in Manila, Philippines. On 19-23 November 1973, four hundred twenty (420) advocates coming from twenty-one (21) countries met in Manila to participate in the First Asian Federation on Mental Retardation (AFMR) Conference. The said conference was organized with support from UNESCO, National Commission of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of the Retarded (PAR). Ret. Father Arthur Malin, SVD, was largely responsible for bringing to fruition the very first conference in 1973 with the theme “Hope for the Mentally Retarded in Asia”.
Since its inception, the AFMR delegates have been coming together once every two years holding a Conference in each of its full member countries. During the 18th AFMR Conference held in Taipei on 19-22 November 2007, AFMR’s name was changed into AFID or the Asian Federation on Intellectual Disabilities with the goal of continuously helping these individuals face and overcome their challenges in coping with society’s progress.
At present, the full members of AFID are Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. The Secretary General, Asian Resource Centre-Japan, and Asia Pacific Journal Centre-Korea are likewise represented.
This year’s first-ever Virtual AFID Conference will carry the theme, “Transforming Schools and Communities for Inclusion”. The AFID Conference aims to provide an international platform for educators, professionals, researchers, parents, students, and other groups from the local and international community who share the advocacy and interest of transforming schools and communities through inclusive practices. Included in the practices are those in education and development, socio-civic thrusts, family, and community engagement and policies for quality education and life-long learning for empowerment and independence amidst the global pandemic.
The AFID conferences through the years