Malaysia has already shown how to secure global business events – now it is out to become a force in hosting international delegates from community-based organisations.
With a view to building a community-based legacy, Kuala Lumpur hosted the 2nd Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) World Congress last month. The event brought 1,000 delegates to the Malaysian capital to celebrate global efforts to support people with disabilities.
The CBR Global Network, based on the partnerships between the CBR regional networks and other international stakeholders, was launched in 2012 at the first CBR World Congress in Agra, India. The network strives to support individuals with disabilities and wider communities, and to give them a voice on a global stage.
Held at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, the three-day congress was co-hosted by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the CBR Network Malaysia, the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation, and the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB).
Community-based rehabilitation practitioners, persons with disabilities and other key stakeholders were invited to attend.
Malaysia’s “world-class services, competitive cost, destination appeal and hospitality” were all key to its bidding success, according to event organisers.
The country also had a vested interest in hosting the event. World Health Organisation (WHO) figures show that on average 10 per cent of a country’s population is disabled; while only 5 per cent of 21,869 people registered in Malaysia receive services from the Community Rehabilitation Programme.
From creating engaging dialogues to promoting equal opportunities and showcasing Malaysia’s rich heritage, the congress achieved a series of business objectives.
Themed ‘CBR: Empowering and Enabling’, the three-day event welcomed 1,000 attendees; including 450 international delegates representing 80 countries.
The opening ceremony saw athletes from the 2016 Paralymic Games take centre stage, including Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, men's 100m gold medal winner.
“It was an honour for us to be present at this wonderful occasion,” he said. “From the homecoming celebration to being part of an event that contributes significantly to the disabled community, I am proud to be a Malaysian.”
The congress programme included education sessions, practice sharing and interactive dialogue seminars.
“The community activities and unending display of Malaysian vibrancy from the culture to the culinary delights have been nothing short of a remarkable experience,” said Alexandria Miles, a US participant from the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals.
“The congress could not have come at a better time and Malaysia has been an incredible host,” said Venkatesh Balakrishnan, president of CBR Global Network.
“From the welcoming ceremony of the para-athletes who won gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, to the energy and commitment in hosting a large-scale event, the congress had truly led Malaysia to outshine as a host country,” he added.
“The event has helped to further promote a strong cause that reflects the work of the network to bring together all stakeholders in one place for a sustainable future for the disabled,” said Chris Underhill, founder and president of Basic Needs, an international non-profit organisation that supports people with mental illnesses and epilepsy.
Event: 2nd Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) World Congress
Agency: Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau
Venue: Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Attendees: 1,000 pax
Big Moments: Welcome ceremony with 2016 Rio Paralympic medallists
Date: September 27-29, 2016