On Friday June 7, 2013 Bengt Lindqvist received the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, presented by York University, Toronto Canada. Bengt’s leadership and dedication to the rights of persons with disabilities has had a lasting effect on the policies of governments and the lives of people throughout the world.
Serving as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability from 1994 to 2003, he monitored the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, a framework to further the equality and full participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development. His work led directly to the creation of Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI), a collaborative project working to establish a comprehensive and sustainable international system to monitor the human rights of persons with disabilities, which is based at York University. (See DRPI website: http://drpi.research.yorku.ca/.) Linqvist remains actively involved in DRPI as the co-director alongside Dr. Marcia Rioux.
A language teacher by profession, Lindqvist was also a Member of Parliament in Sweden from 1982 to 1986, serving as Minister for Social Services and Family Affairs between 1985 and 1991. He is currently serving as Special Adviser to the Ministry for Social Affairs in the field of international disability matters. Lindqvist has received numerous awards, including the King’s Medal, honorary doctorates in social science (Stockholm University, 1999) and community medicine (Lund University, 2002).