FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, August 25, 2016
Orlando, Florida USA: The General Assembly of the World Blind Union (WBU), which meets every four years, has elected its new President, Dr. Fredric Schroeder from the National Federation of the Blind, USA (NFB).
Dr. Schroeder was elected during this quadrennium’s Assembly, which was from August 19th-24th in Orlando, Florida and he was unanimously elected by delegates from the 100 countries present at the Assembly. He will now serve as the lead representative of the blind and partially sighted from over 190 countries at the United Nations and other international multilateral organizations.
Dr. Schroeder brings with him years of national and international experience, including serving as the WBU First Vice President over the last four years, as well as serving several terms as First Vice President of the NFB.
Upon hearing confirmation of his election, Dr. Schroeder expressed his deepest thanks and gratitude to the WBU General Assembly. “I am honoured and humbled to have been selected by the global representatives of the world’s blind to lead the World Blind Union in the face of many global challenges,” remarked Dr. Schroeder, confirming that he will continue to focus on some of the biggest international issues that face the blind and partially sighted across the world, especially combatting societal stigma and low expectations that create barriers for blind people in many nations.
The hosts of the WBU General Assembly, the NFB rejoiced when their peer and friend was elected. “My friend, colleague, and mentor Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder has been an outstanding leader of the National Federation of the Blind for decades and has effectively advocated for and implemented innovative education and rehabilitation programs and policies in many capacities, including as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Schroeder has also shown leadership on the global stage on advocating for the Marrakesh Treaty as well as addressing issues such as the danger of silent hybrid and electric vehicles. I look forward to continued collaboration with him as he leads the world’s blind into a future where all of us, in whatever nation, can live the lives we want,” said Mr. Mark A. Riccobono, President of NFB.
The current President of the World Blind Union, Arnt Holte from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP) commended the results of the Presidential election. “The newly elected President, Dr. Fredric Schroeder from the National Federation of the Blind, USA, is an excellent choice and the right choice for the most important position in our Union, and I am sure that Fredric will take WBU forward and further develop our organization.”
Mr. Holte also expressed gratitude to the members of the WBU for allowing him to serve as their President for the last four years. “I am privileged to have had the honour of being the President of the World Blind Union. It has been an amazing pleasure to represent the WBU all over the world, and I look forward to still being a Board Member as the Immediate Past President for the next four years. I also look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Schroeder as well as all of the new Officers on the WBU Board, and I wish them good luck and great success during their terms.”
Mr. Holte’s tenure as President ended at the official close of the WBU General Assembly on Wednesday, August 24th at 3:30 pm. After the closing of the Assembly, the new Executive of the WBU had its first Executive Committee meeting.
The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations run by blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.
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Communications Officer, World Blind Union