Global Down Syndrome Foundation 2011 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award Recipient
Sujeet Desai is an accomplished musician born with Down syndrome. Sujeet has mastered seven instruments: Bb and bass clarinet, alto saxophone, violin, piano, trumpet, and drums. In June 2001, he graduated from high school with honors and in May 2003, he graduated from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in Massachusetts after a two-year residential post-secondary study in Music and Human Services.
After graduation, Sujeet worked as a teacher’s aide for an elementary school music department and continues to introduce music to audiences though his volunteer work. Currently, he performs in community churches, nursing homes, senior centers and hospitals bringing his art to those away from home and family.
Since March 2000, Sujeet has performed in nearly every state and 13 countries. Sujeet is a recipient of numerous national and international awards for his music and self-advocacy. Those awards include an Achievement Award on United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons, the World Down Syndrome Day Award from Down Syndrome International and the Thank You Award from Special Needs Families Developmental Center in Dubai.
Sujeet’s amazing story has been highlighted in two documentaries and many TV and newspaper interviews. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, as well as on TV shows including The View, 20/20 and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Sujeet’s mission is to send a message across the world that, given the proper opportunities, individuals with disabilities can “Make it Happen!”
In 2011 Sujeet participated in the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, where he walked the runway with Real Housewife of Orange County Peggy Tanous and was given the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. That same year, award-winning actor John C. McGinley was also honored with the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award.