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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Mourns the Passing of Kalle Könkkölä

We are sad to inform you that Kalle Könkkölä, a leader in the global independent living movement and good friend of NCIL, passed away on September 10, 2018. Kalle was a tireless advocate for disability rights in his native Finland and around the world. He visited the US many times, and NCIL staff and members had several opportunities to meet with and learn from him at the NCIL office, last year’s Global IL Summit, and this year’s Congressional Briefing. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

Kalle was a disability rights leader based in Finland and working around the world. He was the Executive Officer of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), Vice President of the Finnish Disability Forum, Founder and Chair of the Abilis Foundation, and the Founder and former Executive Director of the Threshold Association. He was also the first disabled member of Parliament in Finland.

Kelly Buckland, NCIL’s Executive Director, said “I was very sad to learn of Kalle’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting Kalle several times when he visited the US, and he truly was an incredible advocate. Countless individuals and organizations around the world are better off and more inclusive as a result of his efforts. He will be missed by many, including the NCIL family.”

Our thoughts are with Kalle’s friends, family, and colleagues in Finland and elsewhere during this difficult time. You can read more about Kalle in this tribute by Judy Heumann, who was a close friend and longtime colleague. You can also read this tribute to him from the International Disability and Development Consortium.

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