Speakers at Europe in Action 2017: Love, life and friendship

Here you can find an overview of the speakers at the conference. Speakers will be very diverse, with self-advocates, experts, family members and representatives of Inclusion Europe member organisations taking part.

Speakers at Europe in Action 2017: Love, life and friendship

Icon speakers


Here you can find an overview of the speakers at the conference. Speakers will be very diverse, with self-advocates, experts, family members and representatives of Inclusion Europe member organisations taking part. The information is updated as speakers confirm. Watch this space and follow Inclusion Europe on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest news.



Ilse Achilles, Germany

Ilse is the mother of two daughters and a son. He has a handicap. Being a journalist, she wrote several books on the life of people with disabilities. One of her interests is how handicapped people can enjoy love, partnership, sex and parenthood. Ilse will talk about “Main Obstacles on Our Way to Friendship, Love and Partnership.” She sees these obstacles above all in the anxiousness of parents, the stress of the staff concerned plus the lack of self-determination of people with a handicap. This situation must be changed.


Zdeňka Adamčíková, Czechia

Zdeňka is a special education teacher. At the moment she works for a charity fund. In her job she helps families in need and people with disabilities. At the same time she is doing research on parenthood of people with intellectual disability. Zdeňka will talk about the support that women with intellectual disability need, so they can be good mothers.



Ivana Ambrosová, Czechia
Ivana is the president of Inclusion Czech Republic, and manages several social services for people with intellectual disabilities in Czechia. In her role at Inclusion Czech Republic, she will open the conference together with Jan Hamák, a Czech self-advocate, and Inclusion Europe’s representatives.



David Beňák, Czechia

He is the deputy minister for human rights of the Czech Republic.

Jana Bernoldová, Czechia

Jana is a special education teacher, currently on parental leave.  For many years she has been working with people with intellectual disabilities. She is also a consultant and lecturer on the subject of parenthood of people with intellectual disability. Jana is the co-author of a research focused on motherhood of 20 women with intellectual disabilities. She will talk about which kind of support mothers with intellectual disabilities need.


Anna Blažková, Czechia

Anna is part of the Inclusion Czech Republic team. She enjoys preparing different activities for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. In the past, for example, she has prepared courses on social skills for people with intellectual disabilities and supported self-help groups on relationships, partnership and sexuality for people with intellectual disabilities. She was also part of a team that prepared p-to-read brochures on health, relationship, sex, motherhood and sexual violence. At the conference she will, together with Petr Eisner, run an accessible workshop called “Who am I and who are the people I like” about relationships, finding new opportunities to meet new friends and love and different social roles.

Jody CarrJody Carr, Canada

Jody, Associate with Inclusive Education Canada, former Minister of Education ‎in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick and current Member of the Provincial Legislature will share the importance and possibilities of successful dynamic, inclusive learning where all children of various abilities and backgrounds form relationships by learning together and are supported to achieve success in the common learning environment.  Jody, who is engaged in inclusive education transformation at the school, provincial, national, and international levels for over 15 years, will outline ‎the key ingredients to make inclusive education a reality for all children.

Xenie Dočkálková, Czechia

Xenie works as a professional counselor and psychologist at Inclusion Czech Republic. She has experience in lecturing courses for people with intellectual disabilities and supports the “Friends Club”, a self-help group for people with disabilities, where they have the opportunity to talk about relationships, partnership, parenthood, sexuality, etc.



Pavla Dohnálková, Czechia

Pavla is a 26 year old woman with Down Syndrome. She went to a special elementary school and then to the “Green House of Wells” social facility in Hodonín (Czechia), where she met new friends. Under the direction of Katka Hornová, they shot the film “Unfair Love” dealing with the relationships of people who are deprived of their rights. Pavla played the lead role with her then-boyfriend. In her contribution, Pavla will talk about her personal experiences of love and partnership.


Jan Hamák, Czechia

Jan is a self-advocate and works at AVAST. He has experience in moderating various events for people with and without intellectual disabilities. Jan will open the Europe in Action conference 2017 together with Inclusion Czech Republic’s president Ivana Ambrosová and representatives of Inclusion Europe. At the conference he will also participate as a lecturer.



Petr EisnerPetr Eisner, Czechia

Petr is an independent expert on sexuality of people with intellectual disabilities, who has done a lot of work in the Czech Republic that helped changing prejudices and stereotypes about sexuality and partnerships of people with intellectual disabilities. Petr will guide you through the conference as one of the moderators, and will lead a workshop on making friends and relationships and understanding social roles. During his plenary speech, Petr will recapitulate the support available for people with intellectual disabilities regarding relationships in the Czech Republic.

Ellen GoodeyEllen Goodey, United Kindom

Ellen is a Project Support Assistant at Mencap. She is a campaigner, blogger, spokesperson, and has worked on projects with young people who are at risk of offending, and sensory storytelling for 0-7 year olds and their parents. More recently her role has also become more involved in projects around supporting people with Intellectual disabilities to be supported to have friendships and relationships. Outside of Mencap Ellen is also a professional writer, actor and singer.


Senada HalilčevičSenada Halilčević, Croatia

Senada is a self-advocate from Croatia. She spent most of her life in institutions, but today she lives independently. Senada is Board member of Inclusion Europe and EPSA chair. She works at ASA, a Croatian association for self-advocacy. Senada will speak about “Rights, consent and capacity in relationships”. You can read a recent interview with her here.



Juultje Holla

Juultje Holla, The Netherlands

Juultje finds ways to support individuals out of institutions into being valued and respected members of the community. At the conference she will talk about the importance of building relations in the community. Also, together with Ellis Jongerius, she will talk about understanding the experience of women abused in institutions, and the effects on inclusion.



Matúš and RozkaRóska Horvátová and Matúš Kubove, Slovakia

Matúš is a young man who is nearly 32 years old. Due to a bad social situation in his family he grew up in different institutions, where he did not have the chance to live his own life. Today he lives independently with his girlfiend Rózka in the flat they share. Rózka is a happy girl aged 22. From early childhood on she lived most of her life in institutions. Thanks to her support person Denisa and other social workers she now lives independently with Matúš and they have plans for their future.
Most of the people living in institutions can only dream about love and partnership. Thanks to the possibility of living in the community Matúš and Rózka live their dream now. They will share their happy story and also obstacles they encounter when getting married.

Radka Jonášová, Czechia

Radka lives in sheltered housing not far away from Prague. She works in the café “Mezi řádky”. Radka has now been living with her partner for two years in a common household that is part of the sheltered housing. They have a lot of future plans …. At the conference Radka will talk about her experience with life as a couple.



Ellis Jongerius, The Netherlands

Ellis is a self-advocate employed by the LFB’s Education and Training team. Through training she makes people with intellectual disabilities stronger. Together with Juultje Holla she will talk about understanding the experience of women abused in institutions, and the effects on inclusion.



Marie Kotačková, Czechia

Marie is president of Inclusion Czech Republic Třebíč and a long-time board member of Inclusion Czech Republic. She is also the mother of two adult daughters – the twins Marika and Denisa, who live in a family circle that, in addition to their parents, also comprises their grandmother. Marie will give a workshop about the difficulties that Marika and Denisa go through when they need regular medical check-ups or more demanding medical interventions. Within the workshop you will also be able to look at a part of a show that the Czech Television has filmed about the family.

Eva Kremlíková, Czechia

Eva has many years of experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and their families. She studied psychosocial sciences and theology at the Charles University in Prague. Now she is employed at Inclusion Czech Republic as a social worker.



Václav Krása, Czechia

Václav is active at the National Council of Persons with Disabilities Czech Republic.

Adrian MargineanuAdrian Margineanu and Doru Jurchescu, Romania

Adrian is a self-advocate from the “Pentru Voi” foundation in Timisoara. He lives in sheltered housing and visits a day centre of the foundation on a daily basis to do activities. Pentru Voi is his only family. Adrian will talk about his life, his desires and his attempts to have a girlfriend. Doru is one of the professionals working at the “Pentru Voi” foundation, with nearly 25 years of experience in  the disability field.

He has carried out activities with children, adults and elderly with disabilities and their families, as a physician (general practitioner), senior public servant and social worker.


Doru will complete Adrian’s presentation and show the obstacles he encounters in his life. Doru will present the evolution of the relationships of a number of beneficiaries of the Pentru Voi foudnation – people who have married and have children, their successes and problems.




Zdeňka Miková, Czechia

Zdeňka is a self-advocate. She works in the café “Bílá Vrána”. She lives in sheltered housing. Zdeňka has worked with Inclusion Czech Republic on several projects as a peer-supporter of a lecturer and as a proof-reader of easy-to read information. She prepared together with Inclusion CR team brochures about reproductive health, contraception and delivery. At the conference she will take part in a workshop on how easy-to-read information can help in medical check-ups and health care.


Elisabeta Moldovan, Romania

Elisabeta is a board member of Inclusion Europe and member of the steering group of EPSA, the European Network of Self-Advocates. Elisabeta will share her experience of developing new relationships after she moved from an institution into living in the community. She will have some recommendations for those who might be in a similar situation.



Pavlína Mroczkowská, Czechia and Poland

Pavlína is a special education teacher at the Society for the Support of People with Intellectual Disabilities. She works with a group of self-advocates and supports them in their activities. These include courses for people with intellectual disabilities, such as First Aid. Pavlína has been involved in the creation of easy-to-read publications on health, relationships, partnership, sexuality, motherhood and abuse. At present, she deals with the use of the internet and partnership portals for people with intellectual disabilities and educational actions in the field of health care (cooperation of health care staff with people with intellectual disabilities and their families).

Jeanne Nicklas-Faust

Jeanne Nicklas-Faust, Germany

Jeanne is the federal manager of Lebenshilfe. By profession she is a physician, and experienced with people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Jeanne is mother of two adult daughters, the younger one lives with complex support needs. Jeanne will talk about good health care for people with intellectual disabilities. Very important is the access to care.


Moisés Oliva González, Spain
Together with Héctor Santana Sánchez, Moisés will talk about “Diverse sexualities: Speaking of LGBT”. A project he was involved in was about being gay, lesbian, trans-sexual or bi-sexual while having an intellectual disability.


Jan Paleček senior and junior

Jan Paleček senior and junior, Czechia

Jan senior, the father of Jan junior, who has an intellectual disability, lives in Kadaň in the Czech Republic. The pensioner brought up three children and currently is living with his son. An active citizen, he participates in community life in Kadaň and works as a volunteer and supporter of people in need. Jan junior studied at a special school and went through a 3-years training as a shoemaker. He is working as a volunteer in a residential house for elderly people. He likes to travel, especially by bus, and also visiting cafés in his spare time. Jan is an active voter.
Father and son will speak about the value of relationships in their daily lives. They will also describe their own experiences and how a family can support its members in finding friends and keeping in contact with them.


MaureMaureen Piggoten Piggot, United Kingdom

Maureen is the President of Inclusion Europe. A trustee for the Rix Centre, she was for many years director of Mencap in Northern Ireland. Maureen will open the conference together with other representatives from Inclusion Europe and Inclusion Czech Republic.




Jyrki Pinomaa, Finland, and José Smits, The Netherlands

Jyrki is President-elect and board member of Inclusion Europe, and Managing Director of the Finnish Aspa Foundation. He is also the former president of Inclusion Finland.



José is Secretary-General at Inclusion Europe, and co-founder and board member of Inclusion Netherlands. She also works as a researcher and consultant. Both Jyrki and José are parents of children with intellectual disabilities and will talk about their role in supporting their children to form relationships.



Štěpan Půhonný, Czechia

Štěpán has been a self-advocate for 20 years. He lives in a home for people with disabilities in Kytlice (Czechia), where he currently establishes a group of self-advocates. He worked his entire life in a sheltered workshop and lived in Prague with his family. When his partner Vlaďka moved to Kytlice, he decided to follow her and spend the rest of his life together with her. At the conference, he will talk about Vlaďka and how he chose to move in with her.


Harry Roche, United Kingdom

Harry is a self-advocate with Mencap, Steering Group member at EPSA and board member at Inclusion Europe. With Isabel Sanchez, he will talk about Mencap’s campaigns on the topic of relationships.



Héctor Santána Sánchez, Spain

Together with Moisés Oliva González, Héctor will talk about “Diverse sexualities: Speaking of LGBT”. A project he was involved in was about being gay, lesbian, trans-sexual or bi-sexual while having an intellectual disability.

Isabel Sanchez, UK

Isabel works at Mencap. With Harry Roche, she will talk about Mencap’s campaigns on the topic of relationships.

Iva Šiková, Czechia

Iva is a board member of the Brno branch of Inclusion Czech Republic, as well as an ICR representative in the National Committee for people with disabilities in South Moravia. Her daughter Zuzka was born with a severe disability and needs comprehensive help and support. From the day Zuzka was born Iva tirelessly has been working for her inclusion into the big family and the network of family friends. She also supports Zuzka to make and maintain her own circle of friends and supporters. During her workshop, Iva will share with you her everyday experience with supporting Zuzka in finding and meeting friends, how she manages to maintain her own network of friends, work, supporting her husband (who is a farmer) and one million other things.

Jana Stejskalová, Czechia

Jana works at Inclusion Czech Republic. She will describe cases when Czech authorities take children of parents with intellectual disabilities into care instead of providing support for them.

David Towell, UK

David will moderate the plenary session and the conference summary and outcomes on Saturday.

Josep Tresserras, Spain

Josep is the Managing Director of the Som–Fundació in Barcelona.  He is an expert on the juridical and ethical protection of persons with intellectual disabilities. Since 1995, he has been board member of the Spanish association of Guardianship Foundations. He is also member of AEES DINCAT, a Business Association in the field of Social Economy. Josep is a member of a commission of the Catalan government which supervises non-profits that look after persons under the care of a guardian. He will speak about “Project Life. Supporting relationships, building the ‘project of life’”, a topic the Som-Fundació has been involved in since its foundation.

Tania Tsiora, European Commission

Tania is originally from Greece and has been working at the European Commission, Unit for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, since 2011. Currently she is part of the Disability and Inclusion Unit, where she is responsible for inclusive education policies. She will speak about inclusive education and why it is important to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of life at school and within society. School and after-school activities are important for children and adolescents to develop friendships, learn social skills to extend their education further and become independent within the community.

Martina VenglářováMartina Venglářová, Czechia

Martina is a psychologist and psychotherapist. A specialist in sexology, she has been working during many years in the area of mental health. Martina works as counselor, lecturer and supervisor in the field of sexuality of people with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. She is the co-author of the book “Sexuality of people with disability and handicap”. Martina will talk about how and why people with intellectual disabilities are in risk of being a victim of sexual violence.


Jana Zárubová, Czechia

Jana is a medical doctor specialised in neurology. She has her own private practice in Prague, where she offers help and support to women with epilepsy and combined disabilities regarding pregnancies and delivery. At the conference Jana will talk about her work and women with epilepsy and combined disabilities.


Jan Žebrakovský, Czechia

Jan, who is 33 years old, is currently working as a receptionist and likes to use his PC, swimming, travelling, and having a good time with friends. At the conference he will do a presentation about “Looking for friends and love on the internet – how to stay safe”.



Full programme here.