On November 12th, the Qatar Embassy in Washington D.C. along with the Autism Society sponsored the third annual Autism Awareness Gala. The event’s theme was the “Spectrum of Opportunity” highlighting the importance of creating job opportunities for individuals that have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The night also centered around celebrating both small and large companies, as well as industry leaders that are working to create inclusive work environments and that recognize the value that those with special needs can bring to an organization and society, as a whole.
The event’s master of ceremonies was Michelle Kosinski, CNN’s senior diplomatic correspondent responsible for covering the State Department. Previously, she served as the network’s White House correspondent during the Obama administration.
Keynote speakers were H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani (Qatar’s ambassador to the United States) and Sultana Afdhal (CEO of the World Innovation Summit for Health – WISH).
The event also featured fabulous performances by Lea Michelle who made her television debut as “Rachel Berry” on the critically acclaimed, award-winning musical series Glee. Along with Michelle appeared Koda Lee, who is most known for participating and winning the 14th season of “America’s Got Talent.”
Additionally, Congresswoman Cathy Rodgers was honored as a special honoree for her role in the passage of the 2014 ABLE Act, one of the most prominent and comprehensive piece of legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The event also honored tech giants SAP and Microsoft for leading the industry in employing individuals diagnosed with ASD.
Lastly, the Autism Society in conjunction with the Qatar Embassy announced a special job fair specifically aimed at expanding opportunities to those diagnosed with ASD. The job fair will take place at George Mason University in February 2020.