Annual World Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology

Professor John Williams

Professor John Williams

24 November 2015

Professor John Williams, the Head of the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, will be giving a keynote paper at the Annual World Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology to be held in Kaohsiung in Taiwan later this week. 

The theme of the Congress is to address the global challenge presented by an ageing population.  How can individual states and the international community meet the many challenges posed? 

Professor Williams will speak on how the design of care homes can affect the ability of older people to enjoy basic human rights.  These rights include protection from abuse and neglect, the right to a family life, right to a home and dignity.  He will discuss the role of architecture and design in promoting and protecting the human rights of what is often a very vulnerable group in society.

The World Congress of Geriatrics and Gerontology promotes the development of modern gerontology and elderly people's health, well-being and social care. This Congress is a highly respected forum for exchanging state-of-the-art research achievements of gerontology and relevant industries from all five continents and six oceanic regions of the world.

More than 200 world-renowned experts, academicians, senior scientists, industry executives and project leaders from all over the world will get together to discuss research, implementation, and policy initiatives necessary for enhancing the quality of life for the older people.

Professor Williams is one of a team of researchers in the Department of Law and Criminology looking at ageing.  The Centre for the Study of Ageing, Abuse and Neglect, based in the Department of Law and Criminology, recently received a Big Lottery grant of £890,000 to conduct research into justice and elder abuse. 

In 2012, Professor Williams was appointed to the United Nations Expert Group on the Human Rights of Older Persons.  He has advised both the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales on the new Welsh social care legislation, and works closely with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and a number of non-governmental bodies.

Professor Williams said: ‘It is a great privilege to be invited to deliver a keynote address at this prestigious global conference.  Within Wales, the implications of an ageing population are complex.  However, we must never regard the fact that people live longer as a problem.  It is something that we must all celebrate.  It is also important that we ensure that older people are visible in any human rights discourse and that their contributions to society, as well as their needs, are reflected in national and international law.  The importance of protecting the human rights of older people in care settings homes cannot be underestimated.  Not only does this involve protecting them from abuse and neglect, it also requires us to ensure that the physical environment respects and supports their rights.’

The Congress will take place between the 26-28th November 2015.