The guest of this episode, Federico Batista Poitier, studied first forensic anthropology and then human rights. After graduating from the European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation, he specialised in issues related to accessibility and the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Federico started working on issues related to disability when he was an English teacher in South Korea and worked in an inclusive school.
He currently works as accessibility policy officer for United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), that he describes as a kind of UN of local and regional governments. 65 % of the Sustainable Development Goals need implementation at the local level to be realised by 2030. He particularly focuses on accessibility as mandated through the international human rights framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and its article 9, a lot of the competency to implement this article being with local governments. This implementation is sometimes made difficult with coordination and centralisation.
His hopeful vision for cities includes three main points:
More investment in the community and social accessibility. Seeing everybody as an addition to the city and really bringing respect and dignity.
Connecting better the city with the periphery/considering the peripheries as part of the city. A continuum urban-rural gives the opportunity to live outside the city but benefitting from the work and education opportunities of the city. It requires extending the concept of the city.
Repriotising nature: having access to nature is an important element to the mental health of people living in the cities.
Federico has been reflecting a lot on how to take care of his mental health. He would like to see a shift in language from ‘suffering from mental illness’ to ‘living with a mental illness’. Disability is part of human diversity. He feels that having a human rights framework and working in the space of rights of persons with disabilities made him resilient. His advice on how to care for your mental health:
Understand your limits!
Have your own space where you can be completely yourself! A space where having where you can regroup and really assess how you're feeling. In this regard, the book ‘To Room Nineteen’ from Doris Lessing is his guide.
Have a routine! Federico adopted a cat, which forced him to have a routine and makes him get out of bed.
Name 5 things you are grateful for before going to bed!
Stay in contact with nature! Federico grew up in a farm and he is now involved in a community garden.
The main piece of advice of Federico to graduates of masters in human rights is: Be bold! Do not limit yourself to online applications! If you see a place you would like to work in, connect with that organisation or that person. Putting yourself where you want to be before you're there. Be ambitious with those seeds that you are planting professionally.
Be bold! Do not limit yourself to online applications! If you see a place you would like to work in, connect with that organisation or that person.
Federico Batista Poitier
Federico Batista Poitier is an international policy expert and advisor on accessibility and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly in the context of urban development and the frameworks of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
Follow him on LinkedIn: Federico Batista Poitier | LinkedIn