USICD NewsJune 2010
Judith Heumann to Join U.S. State Department in Fulfillment of Obama-Clinton Pledge

Judith Heumann, an international leader in the disability rights movement and a governmental representative to the USICD Board of Directors, will be joining the U.S. Department of State as their Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.  This position was announced last summer, when President Obama and Secretary Clinton declared that the United States would sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Heumann resigned her position as Director of the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia and will assume her new position at the Department of State on June 7, 2010. 
"This is a significant step forward to the U.S. government's capacity to include disability in our foreign policy.  The knowledge Judy will bring to the State Department will be invaluable to international development programs, U.S. ratification of the CRPD, and our country's approach to international engagement," says USICD President Marca Bristo.  "As longtime colleagues and friends of Judy, the USICD Board of Directors is elated with her appointment and we wish her all the best in her new role."
Previously, Heumann was the Advisor on Disability and Development for the World Bank from 2002 - 2006 and served as President Clinton's Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services from 1993 -2001.  She was a cofounder of the World Institute on Disability in Oakland, California, and served there from 1982 -1993.  She was also a cofounder of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, serving as their Deputy Director from 1975 - 1981.
In March 2010, prior to her appointment to the State Department, the Minnesota-based nonprofit Courage Center announced that they will grant Heumann the 2010 Medtronic National Courage Award this September.  Heumann was selected for the 2010 award in acknowledgment of her lifelong advocacy on behalf of children and adults with disabilities.  Heumann was the first recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award in 1990.

USICD Welcomes New Board Members

During the 2010 Annual Meeting three new members were elected to the USICD Board of Directors.  We're very excited to have the collective skills of Maria Veronica Reina, Ann Cody, and Patricia Morrissey to assist in promoting USICD's mission.  Each has an extensive background in disability rights advocacy, read more here.
International Advisory Board to Provide Input for Global Disability Rights Library Project

A newly-formed International Advisory Board (IAB) with 10 members and an additional nine ex-officio members will advise the Global Disability Rights Library project.  Advisors in the IAB will advise GDRL staff in what type of information is important to include in the electronic disability rights library.  The IAB also will assist in identifying partners around the world who can help gather content for the library, deploy the library in developing countries, and implement other related activities. 

Candidates share a commitment to information dissemination among disabled people's organizations in developing countries.  Advisors reflect wide diversity in background, professional knowledge and expertise, and lived experience with disability and poverty.  IAB members come from both developed and developing countries.  These particularly include countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Ex-officio members were selected from among members of the USICD Board of Directors and the faculty of the University of Iowa.  The chair of the IAB will be selected from among the members of the IAB; ex-officio members may not serve as chair. Altogether, the advisors come from 12 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States.  Most voting members grew up in a developing country and most of the advisors are people with disabilities, read more here.

A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,     
June has arrived and a busy season of conference presentations has begun.  Over the next few weeks, USICD staff will deliver sessions on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to important new audiences and constituents such as the InterAction Forum, the Society for Disability Studies, and the International VSA Arts and Disability Festival.  These experiences allow us to raise awareness of international disability issues, build bridges between diverse advocates, and invite new colleagues into the USICD community.
The past few weeks have been an exciting time of transformation within the USICD community, as you will read in this newsletter and on our website.  I am honored to announce a new Government Relations Manager who is joining our team, and the transition of two of our staff members to new opportunities to advance human rights and inclusive global policy.  The disability community is celebrating the news of Judy Heumann's appointment to the U.S. Department of State.  Judy's dedication to advancing the status of people with disabilities around the world make this a significant moment in the history of the disability rights movement.
 David headshot
David Morrissey


June 3 - Society for Disabilities Studies Conference, Philadelphia, PA.  "CRPD and the Global Disability Movement"

June 4 - InterAction Annual Forum, Washington, DC.  "Inclusive Foreign Assistance: Bringing Marginalized Voices to the Table"

July 22 - National Council on Independent Living Conference, Washington, DC. "CRPD and Independent Living"

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USICD Recognizes International Children's Day in ADA Blog Post

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Slovakia Ratifies Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Nepal Ratifies CRPD and Optional Protocol
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