Briefing audience 1   

Thank you to everyone who attended last week's policy briefing in the Senate: The Impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Global Commerce and the International Accessibility Eco-System.  The briefing was a tremendous success with over 200 attendees! We would like to share with you some photos and key statements - please share with others who may not have been able to attend!  Please also take a moment to support U.S. ratification efforts for the treaty by taking action below:


What can YOU do to help pass the disability treaty?  

To learn more about the treaty visit! CLICK HERE to contact the Senate offices of key senators who we need to support the treaty for a vote this year!


Axel Leblois of G3ict with Tony Coelho
Axel Leblois (G3ict) with Tony Coelho

Tony Coelho, former U.S. Congressman and primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act: "The CRPD is a blueprint of the globalization of the ADA... The U.S. contributed to CRPD legal definitions such as reasonable accommodation to the whole world. Today 57% of over 125 CRPD ratifying countries have incorporated a definition of reasonable accommodation in their legislation. Just three or four had a definition only 10 years ago. That's tremendous leadership on our part that we have done that. We now need to do it in our participation in the treaty."



Filled audience members and service animal
Audience fills CRPD Business/Tech briefing in U.S. Senate


 Frances West, IBM, Director of Human Ability & Accessibility Center: "Right now the United States actually holds the leadership position in terms of technology for accessibility. And I can tell you that since the convention in 2006, for the countries that have signed or ratified, especially in the emerging countries, many of them are actually aggressively trying to vie for that leadership position...IBM [is] a global company, [that operates] in 170 plus countries, with close to 500,000 employees worldwide. And we generate about 100 plus billion dollar revenue a year. As a global company, we try to really look at areas and places where we can add significant value, which, of course, in the business world translates into profit and revenue opportunities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when it was passing, from the very beginning, we saw this as an opportunity to really further the objectives of business such as IBM."



Young interns with disabilities sit in front of briefing and partiipate in Q&A
Young disability advocates attend CRPD Business/Tech briefing


Judy Brewer ▪ World Wide Web Consortium, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative:
"I think that many people in the room shared the deep surprise last year at the U.S. not signing on to the CRPD and felt that very, very deeply. For those of us who work internationally, we heard the shock from our international colleagues. These are people who had looked, they had been watching the U.S. leadership in so many aspects of accessibility for years and taking inspiration from that. So I'm sure many of you here who work in those settings have, as I have, have gotten a lot of questions about what's happening. Is the U.S. stepping back its commitment to accessibility?
I hope that's not the case, but that's the message that the U.S. is sending right now."



Briefing attendee using computer technology to communicate
Attendee uses U.S. innovation to participate in CRPD Business/Tech briefing  
Brian Markwalter, Consumer Electronics Association, Senior Vice President of  Research and Standards: "We forecast 130 million smartphones [will be] shipped in the U.S. this year, about 900 million worldwide... The penetration of tablets in the U.S. is already at 40%...even by the rapid pace of consumer electronics to achieve 40% in just a few years is phenomenal...I guess the main takeaway is the importance of standards and in particular harmonization and worldwide recognition that these markets are all global now. The products ship worldwide...
Investment follows opportunity. And to the extent we can make these technologies available on a worldwide basis, that's a bigger market and more opportunity for companies to deliver their products into the world. So making accessible products and creating accessible options opens up markets....Companies get access to broader markets through these globally harmonized efforts like CRPD."

Deaf Ugandan advocate sits in front  row of event
Deaf Ugandan Advocate attends briefing of American business leaders discussing why U.S. should ratify the disability treaty
Andrew Kirkpatrick, Adobe Systems Inc., Group Project Manager for Accessibility:

"I think what is one of the greatest fears that we have is that if accessibility is required or implemented the requirements for accessibility mean that we have to do it differently in different countries and that we have to address accessibility in the U.S. in one way and in Japan or Australia or India in another way entirely.  This is where there's really very important work that the CRPD can help us with... Accessibility is a part of our products that we need to support.  And if we need to do it differently, then we run the risk of a company like Adobe saying, ok, we're not going to worry about a small country that has different accessibility requirements because it's not a large market.  That may mean there's fewer jobs at Adobe doing work on a particular product.  It may present a great opportunity for another country where there's a tool that is focused on their own specialized accessibility standards...


David Dikter, CEO of the Assistive Technology Industry Association:

Blind advocate participates in Q&A
Newly blind founder of My Blind Spot participates in CRPD Tech/Business briefing Q&A

"ATIA represents about 100 plus or minus companies that manufacture and develop Assistive Technology.

Their mission is really to change lives in a very dramatic way.Without their technologies, students may not have access to education.Leaders may not exist...[The] power of the CRPD is quite dramatic.Today there's a cohort of countries that have signed on and ratified CRPD.The United States has not... The United States has a great model that we've been evolving and developing over a long term.We need to be part of that conversation.We need to be part of the cohort of countries that have signed on so that we can share more formally what we have done in this country...They're folks who have a wife, child, grandparent or parent who has a disability who actually started this world with Assistive Technology.





This event was hosted by the following partners, in conjunction with information technology industry participants in the M-Enabling Summit:


AT in Dark blue then iA in light blue  A blue button with the computer symbol for power next to the letter AAPD

  G 3 in bold in front of i c t in lower case lettering and just outline USICD Logo