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Visionary Acknowledged By Blind New Zealanders



For Immediate Release

The Beamish Memorial Medal is the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand’s most prestigious award; this was presented to Jonathan Mosen on 4 October, during this weekend’s annual conference in Wellington.

Blind since birth, Jonathan joined the Association in 1986 at age 16; he attended his first Association Conference in the same year, where he was involved in the country’s first pilot Radio Reading broadcast.

Blindness has never been a barrier to Jonathan and his interest in broadcasting never waned; in his teenage years he established Radio Enterprises at Homai, broadcasting to the South Auckland area. He worked for Counties Radio and later hosted a breakfast current affairs show on Auckland 1476.

As a power user of standard computers with specialised screen-reading software, he is a world innovator in the establishment of internet-based radio services. He worked from home where he hosted an internet radio station network that had listeners from more than 70 countries.

For six years he co-ordinated the Association’s National Feedback Line, a mechanism which facilitates discussion amongst blind and vision impaired individuals via phone.

Jonathan has held numerous positions within the Association from Branch through to national level including representing the Association at the World Blind Union Asia Pacific Regional Assembly. He has been instrumental in introducing and establishing mechanisms that truly benefit blind and vision impaired New Zealanders. The Wellington Seminar provides a forum for the Association’s leadership to meet with policy makers and advocate on blindness-related issues and is but one of his innovations.

Having served time on the governing body in the early 1990s, Jonathan became the Association’s youngest National President, holding the position from 1997 to 2001.

In 1997, Jonathan triggered the significant constitutional change to the structure of the RNZFB. He has served as one of the Association’s representatives on entities that respectively established the framework for the Foundation’s current constitution and which oversaw the world-leading transition of the Foundation to an organisation of, rather than for, the blind. This change is significant and gives blind people a greater say in the Foundation’s governance.

Jonathan has been one of the Association’s representatives to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and became the Foundation’s Chairman, the youngest person to gain this position of leadership. He is the first person to have led both the Association and the Foundation.

Following the passage of the RNZFB for the Blind Act 2002, Jonathan was elected by his peers to the new Foundation’s Board of Directors and was appointed its first Chairman in April in 2003.

In his work for the Foundation Jonathan held the positions of Service Adviser and Manager Government Relations.

In the latter position, he achieved many important legislative changes for blind people amongst which include world-leading changes to the Copyright Act (which have been emulated in the USA and other countries) and securing the right of blind people to serve on a jury.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts double major degree in History and Political Studies, and a Master in Public Policy.

“Jonathan is a true visionary; he is a remarkable young man whose energies are boundless. His blindness does not limit him and he is the epitome of what blind people can achieve. He has voluntarily chosen to share his talents in the cause of civil and political rights for blind and vision impaired New Zealanders and has changed what it means to be blind in New Zealand. For these reasons and many more, I am proud to be presenting this award to Jonathan Mosen on behalf of the Association. This is a fitting salute to his many achievements of which we are all beneficiaries” said Carolyn Weston, Association National President.


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