Michael Kalmár speaking at the podium

Report From BDA Conference

Chairman Michael Kalmár’s speech

Michael Kalmár speaking at the conference
Michael Kalmár speaking. Photo by Phil Wormley, BDA

The European Dyslexia Association board was gracefully invited to attend the British Dyslexia Associations international Conference in Oxford between March 10–12, 2016. Our Chairman, Michael Kalmár took part in the opening ceremony with a speech addressing the collaboration between our two organisations. He also spoke about the fact that only 14 countries so far has ratified the Marrakesh Treaty, which enables blind, visually impaired and dyslexic persons and their organisations to produce, to use and to transfer accessible formats like daisy-readers, e-books and large print without any copyright restrictions.You can read Michaels speech as a whole further down.


“Excellences, esteemed colleagues, dear friends, 

Dyslexia and Dyscalculia still present concerns and challenges for millions of children and adults across Europe. This fact requires major changes to improve attitudes, legislation and positive practice in education, vocational training, the workplace and the general public, to be lobbied by the Civil Society and NGOs representing the affected ones.

The British Dyslexia Association has taken over this duty here in Britain; with fantastic performance and success! Like – besides many other important activities – organising the BDA’s International Conferences. These Conferences are highly appreciated landmarks, bringing together actual research, best practice in therapy, education and work life and persons with dyslexia and dyscalculia and their relatives.

 I as chairman of the EDA, I appreciate very much to be allowed to present greeting words and best wishes of the EDA Board for this conference, which will host as well a Board Meeting of the EDA. Both organisations are deeply aligned based by the fact that the British Dyslexia Association was 1987 one of the founding members of the European Dyslexia Association. Many things have changed since 1987. The EDA became the European platform and the Voice of the People with dyslexia and other specific learning differences, children’s parents, professionals and researchers alike in Europe.

The EDA encompasses today 42 organisations in 26 countries in Europe. The work of the EDA Directors – predominantly volunteers – is not very visible to the public. Our main lobbying targets are the institutions of the EU, the Parliament, the Commission and the Council. It is very difficult to reach and to inform them about our needs as well as bring them together to decide improvements for the dyslexic and dyscalculic European Citizen. An example: After 5 years intensive lobbying together with the Blinds organisations 80 countries including the EU itself signed 2013 the Marrakesh Treaty, which enables blind, visually impaired and dyslexic persons and their organisations to produce, to use and to transfer accessible formats like daisy-readers, e-books and large print without any copy-right restrictions. But until today only 14 countries have ratified this for us so important treaty, but not the EU and none of the European countries, although the European Parliament just recently (I quote the accepted motion) “notes with profound indignation that seven EU Member States have formed a minority block that is impeding the process of ratifying the Treaty and calls on the Council and the Member States to accelerate the ratification process” (End of the quote).

Other activities of the EDA are more visible:

I am delighted to report that the EDA’s Curriculum “European Guidance Criteria for the Education and Professionals Working with Persons with Dyslexia” is now at disposal of the public.

Following the success of the Youth camps 2014 and 2015, EDA has the pleasure of announcing a new international camp for European youth with dyslexia and dyscalculia. This time it will be held between July 23 and July 30, 2016 in Malta. This youth camp intends to provide a field for European Youth from 18 to 30 to join, to improve their knowledge of English and their confidence in communicating in English in a supportive setting and to share their experiences.

In the eve of 21th of September 2016 the 5th All-European Dyslexia Conference of the EDA, in cooperation with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, will start with a reception at the Ferrari Museum in Modena. Join us in the beautiful town of Modena, Italy, the home of Ferrari and balsamic vinegar and in September the hotspot for the International Dyslexia Community. After the 2013 Conference at the Linnaeus University, Sweden it is time once again to exchange latest research, to discuss best practice models in interchange with persons with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Please make a reservation in your calendar and stay tuned through our website for more information. You can look forward to 8 parallel conference tracks filled with presentations and workshops. A full draft program will be issued in early April, 2016. The Call for Paper is open until end of March.

 In 2017 we will organise another three days’ EDA Summer seminar with prominent keynote speakers and European lecturers in a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere like we had it in the last years in San Marino.      

Like the BDA’s one in Britain, the mission of the EDA is to ensure that every person with Dyslexia, Dysphasia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia or Attention Deficit Disorder has the right to access and to receive appropriate identification, support and opportunity to achieve their full potential in education, vocational training, and employment and in all aspects of life.

Let’s continue our fight for this aims together!

Thank you for your attention.”

Michael Kalmár, Chairman of the European Dyslexia Association

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