The Embassy of the State of Qatar to the United States Hosts the third Annual Autism Awareness Gala

The Embassy of the State of Qatar in the United States hosted the Third Annual Autism Awareness Gala in partnership with the Autism Society of America.
At the beginning of the ceremony, H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, delivered a speech, in which he praised the efforts of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington states’ 5th district, Frederick Humphries from Microsoft, and Ms. Judith Williams, Mr. Jose Velasco, and Mr. Thorkil Sonee from SAP.
He also praised the efforts of the Autism Society of America in partnership with the State of Qatar over the past few years in raising awareness, bringing change and helping people on the autism spectrum and making a difference in the daily lives of people with autism and their families. “We see and appreciate your efforts,'' he said.
“This year, we are partnering to recognize the opportunities created by organizations and their leaders for people on the spectrum. Organizations who see the incredible skills of people with Autism and empower them to contribute to the world around them, his excellency added.
H.E the Ambassador stressed that the State of Qatar has made great strides to create opportunities for people on the spectrum. “Organizations like WISH, work closely with global partners to ensure that the most innovative ideas for employment are implemented across sectors in Doha. The Shafallah Center works diligently to prepare young adults with autism to join the workforce through their active vocational training program,” he said.
“At our Embassy, we thought long and hard about what we could do to make a difference. How could we help connect individuals on the spectrum with employment opportunities that could change the course of their lives,” he added.
His excellency announced that the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C. and the Autism Society of America will be partnering with Best Buddies to host the first ever Special Abilities Career Fair at George Mason University, on February 22nd next year. “We hope to help adults with special needs in our community connect with opportunities and employers who could use those special skills,'' he said. 
 “We commemorate this ceremony because we believe in the importance of uplifting individuals on the spectrum across the world, it is my belief that through continued partnership and collaboration with our friends here in the US, our ambitions are not out of reach,” he added.
The Executive Chairman of the World Summit on Innovation in Health Care, Ms. Sultana Afdhal, presented the most innovative initiatives launched by Qatar to integrate people with autism into the labor market.
“I want to thank His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, for graciously giving me the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of WISH,” she said.
“In hosting such events, the ambassador is demonstrating his staunch and continued support for people with autism. He is helping to ensure that the issues faced by individuals and their families are highlighted and that a strong platform exists from which they can make their voices heard,” She added.
“This year’s theme of young adults with autism is so important, as often the focus is on children with autism, ignoring the specific and significant needs of the many young adults who will one day have to fend for themselves.” Ms. Afdhal said.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American United Nations Association Joseph Joyce thanked the State of Qatar, and his Excellency the Ambassador in particular, for their efforts in this regard.
“I’d also like to thank all of the sponsors who contributed to this magnificent event, and supporting our cause,'' he said.
“The Autism Society of America will be able to help more people affected by autism maximize their quality of life because of the generosity of all of you and his Excellency,” he added.
“For the last two years, we have been so fortunate to partner with the State of Qatar, and again we extend our gratitude and thanks to the embassy and his Excellency; your vision, generosity, and commitment to helping those in need is the trademark of the state of Qatar, and we are very proud of this relationship. So again, thank you,” Joyce said.
The event was concluded by presenting several awards of recognition, especially for   Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to honor her work supporting people with disabilities, assisting in the passage of key legislation that makes these opportunities more accessible, and honored SAP and Microsoft for leading the industry in employing individuals with ASD.