On May 15th, 2023, a delegation from the EBU Secretariat had the pleasure of being invited to Dublin by NCBI, EBU member in the Republic of Ireland. The delegation included Lars Bosselmann (Executive Director), Antoine Fobe (Head of Advocacy and Campaigning) and Valérie Bertrand-Vivancos (Membership Officer). The purpose of the visit was to gain insight into NCBI's operations, and it proved to be an enlightening experience.
Upon arrival, Chris White, the CEO of NCBI, warmly welcomed the delegation and provided a comprehensive presentation on NCBI's premises, staff, resources, and ongoing as well as future activities. Additionally, Kyran O’Mahoney, the Chief Technology Officer, showcased the cutting-edge projects and facilities at the NCBI Labs. The delegation was given a glimpse into the innovative work being carried out to enhance accessibility and improve the lives of blind and partially sighted individuals. The presentations were followed by a fruitful discussion with Aaron Mullaniff, the Chief Services Officer and Kevin Kelly, the National Strategic Partnership Manager, exploring avenues to foster stronger collaboration between EBU and NCBI.
An exciting part of the visit was the opportunity to visit the future WayFinding Centre, scheduled to be unveiled at the end of 2023. This remarkable center aims to empower blind and partially sighted individuals in their journeys and travels by providing a life-size replica of Dublin's transportation system. Not only does it serve as a practical aid, but it also raises awareness among public transport staff, architects, and other corporations about the importance of accessibility.
Throughout the visit, the atmosphere was permeated with joy and conviviality. The combination of NCBI’s efficient and visionary approach to supporting the rights of visually impaired individuals in Ireland, along with their warm hospitality, made the experience truly memorable for the EBU delegation.
Later in the month, on May 22nd, Lars Bosselmann and Valérie Bertrand-Vivancos paid a visit to Ligue Braille in Brussels, where they were warmly welcomed by Noella Jardin, its General Director. During the visit, Ms. Jardin provided insights into the key aspects of the 102-year-old national organisation, which operates across all regions and languages in Belgium. She addressed a wide range of topics, including the organisation's aspirations, campaigns, annual surveys, efforts in employment and education, social welfare, digital accessibility, and the future of Belgium's trilingual cultural diversity. Additionally, all three talked about the significance of the upcoming Belgian presidency of the EU and delved into various subjects related to rights within the complex political landscape.
On behalf of Ligue Braille, Ms. Jardin expressed a keen interest in fostering collaborations and exchanging best practices with other EBU members. Indeed, the Belgian organisation is eager to strengthen ties with fellow members and further enhance their collective efforts.