December 2014

Christmas Gift with a Big Bow Clip Art - large green Christmas gift ...


What a year 2014 has been.  Hundreds and hundreds of hours have been spent advocating, educating, and empowering for the one billion people with disabilities around the world.  With a focus on the goal of United States ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, our activities have brought together more partners and unique voices than ever.  We even staged a large fund raiser, USICD's first, which you will read about in the next article.

So much passion has gone into this work, and performed by scores of volunteer advocates and a small USICD staff.  Whether rallying on Capitol Hill, sharing the vision through social media, or building bridges to people around the world, we could not do it without the community around us. 

It is at this time of year that we come to you and ask your financial support of the work USICD does on your behalf. 

That's why we are asking you to make a tax-deductible donation by December 31st. Your donation of any amount today--$50, $100, or $250--will help us raise $10,000 to expand our programs internationally. 

Make sure you get your donation in by 12/31!  Thank you much for your important support of the programs you value.
USICD Gala Attended by Members, Friends and Advocates from as close as the White House and as far as Guam
Our first gala event was attended by more than 225 guests at the US Institute of Peace on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  The scene was stunning for this inaugural event: the Lincoln Memorial glowed through the windows as we honored two great advocates for persons with disabilities.  Professor Gerard Quinn of National University Ireland Galway and retiring Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa were honored for their positive global impact for people with disabilities. 

The USICD Board was present along with our new corporate sponsors and their guests.  JPMorgan Chase led the evening as the platinum sponsor.  AT&T, IBM, Walmart, US Chamber of Commerce, The Viscardi Center, Alston & Bird, LLC, National Organization on Disability, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Easter Seals, and the Dupont Circle Hotel also supported the event.

A special thanks goes to the Embassy of Ireland and Her Excellency Ambassador Anne Anderson, for being present to make celebratory remarks about honorees Professor Quinn and Senator Harkin.

All who attended enjoyed great conviviality, food, drink, speeches, toasts, and even a bit of bagpipe and harp music to open the holiday season.  USICD was happy to hold this first event and to receive such positive response. 

In order to keep the message of disability central to the Washington philanthropic world and to raise operating funds for the organization, USICD plans to position the gala as an annual event.

Thank you to all who attended and supported the gala!  Mark your calendar for December 3, 2015.

Senate Fails to Act,
Disability Leaders Outraged on
International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd, American disability leaders expressed outrage over the U.S. Senate inaction on ratification of the international Disability Treaty (the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD).  As the end of the 114th Congress nears, it has become clear to disability leaders that the Senate will not pass the resolution for ratification of the CRPD this year.  The Senate failed to even schedule a vote on the treaty in 2014.


Read some of the statements of anger and disappointment from disability rights leaders about the Senate failing to consider CRPD ratification in 2014.


Ithe CRPD Support logo with We support instead of I support  

Applications Open for Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs Internship Program!
The summer 2015 Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program continues to solicit YOUR applications from now through the deadline on January 28, 2015.

USICD's nine-week internship program is geared for graduate students, recent graduates, and rising college juniors and seniors with disabilities from across the U.S. who are interested in international development and foreign affairs careers. This will include a one-week training and orientation program followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
Each intern is typically placed at a different host organization. The internship program alumni page describes the placements for each intern in 2013 and 2014. USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the nine-week program, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend.

It is anticipated that interns will need to be in DC from May 24 to July 25, 2015. These dates may be subject to change. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, must identify as a person with a disability, and must be either a student or a recent graduate. Applications are accepted from candidates up to age 30.  In limited circumstances (for example, U.S. veterans), some candidates may be eligible up to age 35.

To learn more detail about the internship program, the eligibility criteria, and the application process, please visit  This website also has a Frequently Asked Questions page for applicants.  You can also download a printable handout about the internship program.


USICD thanks the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation for their support for this initiative.

Intern Diego Mariscal at IADB with task supervisor in summer 2014
Intern Kathryn Carroll (left) with coworker at Burton Blatt Institute in summer 2014


Ki'tay Davidson, Remembered
Dear USICD friends,

We have the sad duty of informing you that a member of USICD's community of friends, Ki'tay Davidson, passed away in his sleep on December 2nd, 2014.  Ki'tay was in the first cohort of interns in USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs summer internship program in 2013.

Ki'tay radiated love, passion, humor, and spirit to those who knew him.  He also was a tremendous youth leader who was dedicated to the causes of disability rights, LGBTIQA rights, and the rights of communities of color.  In particular, he spoke out often on the importance of defending the rights of people who lived within the intersection of multiple marginalized identities.

A young black man in black shirt and bow tie smiles at camera
Ki'tay Davidson, intern at Handicap International via USICD's summer 2013 internship program

2014: The Year in Review
Some of the events and activities in our busy year of 2014 include:
  • Continued advocacy work for U.S. ratification of the "Disability Treaty", Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held two hearings on the CRPD at the end of 2013, then voted the treaty out of committee in July 2014.  The disability community held a rally and march at Capitol Hill in a visible show of support for the CRPD.  However, the year came to an end without a vote on the CRPD: see our separate story in this issue about the outrage of the American disability community on this failure.
  • USICD coordinated the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program for its second summer in June and July 2014 with a total of eight interns.  The program will return its third year in the summer of 2015.  Applications are being accepted from now through the January 28, 2015 deadline
  • USICD created a new way for our members and friends to connect with us when we launched our new LinkedIn page in April 2014! Come follow our LinkedIn page!  And, don't overlook that USICD also has a Facebook page, Twitter, and a Wordpress blog site.  
  • USICD International Disability Law and Policy consultant Allison deFranco supported the Working Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WCRPD) to plan and implement the first ever Myanmar National Disability Conference in June 2014 in Yangon. The historic event brought together more than 500 participants with disabilities from all regions and states to create a national level cross-disability coalition.
    Hundreds of people seated in rows, waiting for the first National Disability Convention in Myanmar to begin
    Myanmar National Disability Conference
International Disability News

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In This Issue
Please Donate to USICD Before December 31st!
USICD's First Annual Gala
Senate Fails to Act, Disability Leaders Outraged on International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Second Call for Applications for Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program
Ki'tay Davidson, Remembered
2014: The Year in Review
International Disability News

Events and Opportunities


Deadline December 31, 2014 



CRPD Ratification Watch
As of December 2014:
  • 159 Signatories
  • 151 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 85 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Samoa Ratified the Convention on September 24, 2014

Guinea Bissau Ratified the Convention on September 24, 2014

Guyana Ratified the Convention on September 10, 2014

Republic of the Congo Ratified the Convention on September 2, 2014

Grenada Ratified the Convention on August 27, 2014

Burundi Ratified the Convention on May 22, 2014

Angola Ratified the Convention on April 19, 2014

Switzerland Ratified the Convention on April 15, 2014
Palestine Ratified the Convention on April 2, 2014 
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Board of Directors

Patricia Morrissey - President

Lex Frieden- Vice President

David Hutt - Treasurer

Glen White - Secretary

Marca Bristo - Past President

Candace Cable

Jennifer Dexter 

Jill Houghton

Axel Leblois

Barbara LeRoy

Susan Mazrui

David Oaks

Stephanie Ortoleva

Debra Perry

Neil Romano 

Jeff Rosen

Eric Rosenthal

Diana Samarasan

Betsy Valnes

John Wodatch 

Tom Zampieri


Government Representatives

David Baquis (US Access Board)

Joan Durocher (NCD)

Meredith DeDonna (ODEP)

MarcieRoth (FEMA)

Sue Swenson (OSERS)

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