IGDF Seminar 2012 was held in Paris
From May 10th to 13th 2012, International Guide Dog Federation’s bi-annual seminar took place in Paris. A total of about 300 people from 28 countries attended the seminar to meet old and new friends, listen to various presentations and exchange valuable information.
Paul Charles, Chair of French Federation of Guide Dog Association, and JGDA staff members.
At the seminar, we were given an opportunity to give a presentation about our support activities after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. Despite the fact that our English was far from perfect, everyone was very sincere, especially when we talked about our guide dog users who were affected by the earthquake. During the question time, people asked about the lifestyle in the affected areas, struggles for the guide dogs users, etc. Even before and after the presentation, many people approached us with sympathetic comments and we felt the supportive relationship throughout the guide dog community.
JGDA staff giving presentation in English about the support they offered to the visually impaired people in the affected area
On the last day of the seminar, French guide dog users came to the seminar venue and gave a presentation on guide dog accessibility in France. Since we saw a lot of pet dogs at supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels, it was surprising to hear that they too experience entry denial to certain facilities.
French guide dog user and her partner
We also had the chance to visit the local guide dog schools in France. We saw border collies, white shepherds, and other breeds that we don’t train in Japan. We also had time to talk with French trainers about differences in training and client service.
guide dog trainers talking about the kennel environment
The next IGDF seminar in 2014 will be held in Tokyo. We are going to start preparing for the big event as the host school to make it a great time for all the attendees.