Laureates from Bangladesh and China to receive UNESCO/Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities


Disabilities’ advocate Vashkar Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh), and private sector enterprise, Tencent (China) will be awarded the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (2018/2019) in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 3 December, International Day of Persons with disabilities (2.45 pm).

The Prize, supported by Kuwait, acknowledges the outstanding contribution of two laureates to the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to access information and knowledge.

The laureates, selected by an international jury are:

In the individual category, Vashkar Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh), a leading advocate who collaborates with local, national and international partners on the production of resources dedicated to learners with disabilities, and to the training of teachers in the use accessible reading materials. He and his colleagues established a network of employers that provides fair work opportunities to persons with disabilities. He has also organized national level campaigns on issues concerning disability and information rights. In addition, Mr Bhattacharjee has successfully developed Bangladesh’s first Accessible Dictionary in 4 forms, dedicated to persons with visual, print and learning disabilities, and a special programme of self-employment through e-micro credit support for persons with disabilities.

In the organizational category, Tencent (China), an Internet-based technologies and cultural enterprise, is recognized for its outstanding contribution to the empowerment of persons with disabilities by using inclusive digital technologies to provide greatly enhanced access to information. Tencent cooperates with professional information accessibility research organizations in optimizing digital technologies to advance the accessibility of information for all people. In China, Tencent products have helped persons with special needs access critical information and interact more easily with digital devices, thus improving their quality of life.

The award ceremony will be followed by a programme of events celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme for the Day emphasizes the empowerment of persons with disabilities, and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that pledges to “leave no one behind.”

This will be the subject of a high-level panel discussion and keynote addresses by speakers including Lucy Hawking, Vice President of the National Star College (UK), daughter of Prof. Stephen Hawking. MsHawking will also open the Prize-giving ceremony.

Also, during the half-day event, several musicians will perform, among them two UNESCO Artists for Peace: violinist  Eijin Nimura (Japan) and singer Jane Constance (Mauritius). There will also be a film screening (check details online).


The event is open to the public, and particularly to persons with disabilities. Participants are requested to register and provide information about any assistance required using the following link:

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Press Accreditation: Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Media Services,