GLOBAL President & CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten, to Keynote at the United Nations Womens Conference to Commemorate World Down Syndrome Day 2023

Autism and Down Syndrome know no borders: mothers, families and professionals laying the foundation for protection and fulfillment

DENVER, CO – February 28, 2023 – The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) President and CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten, has been invited to speak on a special guest panel at the United Nations 67th Commission on the Status of Women that will take place in New York City on Friday, March 17, 2023 at 1:15 p.m. ET in United Nation Conference Room 2.   

Whitten will present on how research and medical care in the United States is elongating life and improving health outcomes for those with Down syndrome and Autism, and how this renaissance is positively changing perceptions worldwide.

Whitten will join other panelists:

  • Gabriel Cobb, Triathlete and self-advocate with Down syndrome
  • Helen Minkoulou, Parent & President of the Association for the Supervision of Child Victims of Rare Disease of Cameroon
  • Everett & Emily McKiernen, Self-advocate with autism and his mother
  • Chloe & Kurt Kondrich, Self-advocate with Down syndrome and her father
  • Zaboya Dama Adele Judith Epse Makomra, Promoter in the implementation of a day-care and socio-professional training center for people with autism and Down syndrome in Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Yves Akamba, Vice President of the Center for Applied Research on Sustainable Development

The Sponsoring Member State is the Permanent Mission of Cameroon to the United Nations and the Sponsoring Organization is the Center for Family and Human Rights.

The symposium brings together experts, self-advocates and family members from the Down syndrome and autism communities to discuss the challenges women and families face raising children with development disabilities. It will address concrete cultural, legal and policy changes that can help families welcome and care for children with Down syndrome and/or Autism, including their transition from youth into adulthood.

In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year.

To attend this event please RSVP by Friday, March 10, 2023 at For more information and RSVP details, please visit the sponsoring organization website.

A popular video created by GLOBAL in honor of World Down Syndrome Day will be presented at the conference—watch here.

In addition to providing an important keynote presentation at the United Nations in New York City, GLOBAL will also celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with an in-person and virtual dance party on Friday, March 24. For in-person guests, GLOBAL’s World Down Syndrome Dance Party will start at 6:30 p.m. MT and feature TV and radio personality Kathie J, DJ Lo, complimentary food, drinks, a dance-off and more! Sign up here.


About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,200 patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 100 Down syndrome organizations worldwide, and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. 

GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include Global Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome, Prenatal & Newborn Down Syndrome Information and the award-winning magazine Down Syndrome WorldTM . GLOBAL also organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit and follow us on social media (Facebook & Twitter: @GDSFoundation, Instagram: @globaldownsyndrome). 

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