Skip to main content


Conference Language: The conference will be held in English language.

Real-time captioning during all plenary sessions and selected workshops will be provided. Other accessibility needs can be also accommodated, including Albanian Sign Language Interpretation, upon request and Albanian language for the local participant.

Conference Venue: Tirana International Hotel & Conference Center, Sheshi Skënderbej 8, Tirana 1001, Albania.

Thursday 8th June 2023

  08:00 - 08:45


Location: Foyer, Tirana International Hotel                                                                                                     

  08:45 - 09:30

Welcoming Remarks

Moderator: Vasilka Dimoska De Jong, EASPD 

  • Denada Seferi, Albania Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection
  • Hubert Perr, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation in Albania
  • Roberto De Bernardi, UNICEF Albania
  • Emanuela Zaimi, Down Syndrome Albania
  • Jim Crowe, EASPD

Location: room Akernia

 09:30 - 10:00                               

Keynote speeches:

Moderator: Vasilka Dimoska De Jong, EASPD

  • Professor Milica Pejović-Milovančević, University of Belgrade
  • Emily Vargas-Barón,  RISE Institute

Location: room Akernia

  10:00 - 11:30

1st Panel: ECI principles in practice

Moderator: Irene Bertana, EASPD 

Setting the scene:

The principles in practice:

  • Agapi Papadaki, Amimoni, Greece
  • Yiannis Fratzeskakis, Greece (video message)
  • Tatjana Petrović Sladetić, Mali Dom, Croatia
  • Maria Kastanis, University of Illinois, US
  • Eljona Boce Elmazi, World Vision Albania

Location: room Akernia

 11:30 - 12:00

Coffee Break

Location: hotel lobby

 12:00 - 13:30

2nd Panel: Building and strengthening national ECI systems

Moderator: Aleksandra Jovic, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Setting the scene:

  • Camille Roux, COFACE Families Europe
  • Aleksandra Jovic, UNICEF
  • Flavia Shehu, Down Syndrome Albania

Looking for solutions: Organisation and provision of ECI services across countries

  • Marit Recourt-VollebregtThe Netherlands
  • Miguel VallesPortugal
  • Liana Mkhatvari, Georgia
  • Jelena Jankovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Health, Serbia

Location: room Akernia

 13:30 - 14:30

Lunch Break

Location: La Pergola Restaurant, second floor of Tirana International Hotel

  14:30 - 16:00

Workshops on policies and practices

1. ECI Situation analysis and lessons learnt from UNICEF in North Macedonia and Montenegro

Moderator: Vera Rangelova, UNICEF ECARO

  • Aleksandra Karovska, Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Skopje
  • Ida Ferdinandi, UNICEF Montenegro

Location: room Akernia

2. The use of Person-Centred Technologies in ECI

Moderator: Omor Ahmed, EASPD

  • Dr. May Agius, Agenzija Sapport, Malta
  • Rachel Blum, Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel Community Center for Health and Wellbeing, Israel  
  • Ivana Cekovic, UNICEF Montenegro

Location: room Bogdani

3. Early identification of developmental difficulties in children

Moderator: Aleksandra Jovic, UNICEF

  • Revan Mustafayev, UNICEF, WHO
  • Shkelzen Marku, Partnership for Development, UNICEF
  • Mirella Giannakopoulou, Theotokos Foundation
  • Ioanna Karavangeli, Theotokos Foundation

Location: room Abret

4. Methodologies and findings on collecting good practices in family support

Moderator: Lilith Alink, EASPD

  • Wilfried Kainz, Zero Project
  • Fabrizio Serra, Fondazione Paideia

Location: room Blu

5. Routine-based Intervention and home visiting

Moderator: Eric Bloemkolk, SOFT Tulip

  • Anna Kukuruza, CF Early Intervention Institute
  • Maria Kastanis, University of Illinois

Location: room Onufri

  16:00      End of Day 1

Conference Dinner 

Location: room Akernia

Friday 9th June 2023

09:30 - 11:00                  

Workshops on policies and practices

6. Storytelling of family support: the experience of the ECDUR project

Moderator: Rachel Vaughan, EASPD

  • Laurentiu Garofeanu, videomaker
  • Representative of TENENET
  • Representative of Keystone Moldova 
  • Representative of Social Teahouse
  • Representative of Imago Foundation 

Location: room Abret

7. Roadmaps to national ECI system building and ECI Greece project and its policy journey, the lesson learned

Moderator: Timothy Ghilain

  • Irene Bertana, EASPD
  • Vasilis Kalopisis, Local Coordinator ECI Greece project
  • Dorina Giouroukou, European Commission (TBC)
  • Dimitris Nikolsky, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Greece (TBC)

Location: room Akernia

8. Training parents: The Denver Mode and “Now and Next”

Moderator: Fabiana Scarano, EASPD

  • Eglantina Shllaku, Help the Life Association
  • Annick Janson & Melissa Janson, Plumtree Learning

Location: room Metropol

9. Parental and ECI professional burnout, definition and strategies for preventing it

Moderator: Agapi Papadaki, Amimoni

  • Vicky Krokou, Amimoni
  • Nikos Papastamatiou, Omegatech

Location: room Blu

10. The transition to ECEC: tools for the inclusion of children with disabilities

  • Liana Mkhatvari, Georgian Coalition for Early Childhood Development
  • Aurela Zisi, National Agency for ensuring Quality of Education in Albania
  • Maria Ioannou, Emphasys centre
  • Veronica Hadjipanayi, Emphasys centre

Location: room Bogdani

 11:00 - 11:30           

 Coffee Break

Location: hotel lobby

 11:30 - 13:00   

3rd panel - ECI in the context of emergency and displacement

Moderator: Vera Rangelova, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia  

Setting the scene:

  1. Anna Kukuruza, CF Early Intervention Institute ECI in the emergency context
  2. Uliana Tokarieva (TBC), Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine

Looking for solutions: Adapting ECI in the context of emergency and displacement

  • Liza Drannikova, EASPD
  • Tetyana Mishchuk, Dzherelo, Ukraine
  • Borislava Cherkezova, Karin Dom, Bulgaria
  • Daniela Bordeianu, Voicinel Moldova

Location: room Akernia

 13:00 - 14:00

Lunch Break

Location: La Pergola Restaurant, second floor of Tirana International Hotel

 14:00 - 14:45

4th panel - How to use existing policy and financial instruments to advance ECI in Europe 

Moderator: Thomas Bignal, EASPD

ECI in the context of EU policies

  • Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director for Social Affairs and Inclusion, DG Employment, European Commission (video message)
  • Katrin Langensiepen, Member of the European Parliament (video message)
  • Dorina Giouroukou, DG Reform, European Commission 
  • Melita Čusek, Ministry of Labour and Pension System, Family and Social Policy of the Republic of Croatia
  • Marija Lukec Presker, Ministry of Labour and Pension System, Family and Social Policy of the Republic of Croatia


Location: room Akernia

14:45 - 15:30

Final reflections: The way forward

  • Suela Lala, European Network for Independent Living Board Member
  • Emily Vargas-Barón, RISE Institute
  • Dorina Iouroukou, DG REFORM, European Commission
  • Eric Bloemkolk, ECI Member Forum, EASPD

Location: room Akernia

 15:30 - 16:00

Concluding Remarks

  • Ivelina Borisova, UNICEF Albania
  • Emanuela Zaimi, Down Syndrome Albania
  • Jim Crowe, EASPD

Location: room Akernia

  16:00End of Day 2