March 2015
March Membership Month 
Means More Members

Here's what one member said about membership:


"I am a proud member of USICD. It is one of the most effective 
US leaders in promoting global solidarity for the rights of persons with disabilities. I will continue to support its efforts to initiate strong civil rights laws and comprehensive empowerment-oriented policy that will enable people with disabilities in every nation to achieve their productive potential."



USICD members participate in 2014 Annual Meeting



If you are an existing member of USICD, it's time to renew


If you are not a member of USICD, it's time to join

  • Individual membership is only $25 per year
  • Organizational membership is $300

As a USICD member, you receive important, timely updates 

on international news stories that affect you,your job, and 

issues that you care about.  Most importantly, you will be supporting the international council that monitors movement 

in the area of disability rights!


Renew your membership or join today by going HERE.


Member's Corner - we're considering developing a dedicated place for you on our website - a public square to provide a place for members to interact, get answers to questions, and collaborate.


Thank you!

Visiting Colleagues From Mongolia Meet With USICD Board Members  
USICD board members John Wodatch and Jennifer Dexter joined executive director David Morrissey in welcoming two leaders from Mongolia recently.  Baatarjav Dambadondog, president of the United Association of People with Disabilities of Mongolia, Mongolian Paralympic medalist, and Oyunbaatar Tseden, president of the Mongolian National Federation of Disabled Peoples' Organizations came to the United States under a grant from the U.S. Department of State and organized by World Learning to meet with government and non-governmental groups and experts active in the fields of disability rights, services, and sport.

USICD with visitors from Mongolia.

Thanks to World Learning for arranging this meeting. 
Meet Novath Rukwago, advocate from Tanzania, and LLM Candidate at 
American University
Novath Rukwago, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Federation of Disabled Peoples Organizations (SHIVYAWATA) is in the United States studying as an LLM candidate at the American University Washington College of Law under the Open Society Foundations Disability Scholarship Program.  As the Director at SHIVYAWATA, he has been engaged in law and policy advocacy for disability inclusion.  Novath volunteered on a team that initiated advocacy and lobbying for the ratification of CRPD 2009 and subsequent enactment of the Persons with Disability Act in 2010.

Novath has been advocating for the mainstreaming of rights of persons with disabilities in government programs, law, and policies. He teamed up with the task-force to realize the national disability mainstream strategy 2011.

Novath Ruwango (center) joins AAPD CEO Mark Perriello (left) and USICD Executive Director David Morrissey at the annual AAPD gala on March 11, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Novath Ruwango (center) joins AAPD CEO Mark Perriello (left) and USICD Executive Director David Morrissey at the annual AAPD gala on March 11, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Before joining the LLM program, Novath was also a coordinator of Tanzania Consortium of the disability organizations, the initiative with a focus to ensure disability inclusion in the current process of constitutional review in Tanzania.
USICD Member Travels from Wisconsin 
to Ireland to Share Advocacy Strategies     

On February 19th while on vacation in Ireland, USICD member Jerry McCloskey made a presentation to a group of disability law students attending The National University of Ireland in Galway. The students in attendance were from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Kenya, Mozambique, and the United States.

Jerry McCloskey visits with students at the University of Ireland.
Jerry McCloskey visits with students at the University of Ireland.

The subject matter of his presentation focused on the campaign for United States Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the work of USICD. Jerry also shared information about Independence First in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a center for independent living on whose board he serves.

USICD Thanks Global Advocate 

Rhonda Neuhaus


Rhonda Neuhaus (seated front) at CRPD Rally with (left to right) Esme Grant, Eileen Dombrowski, and Yoshiko Dart

 Rhonda Neuhaus, pictured above, advocates on Capitol Hill



USICD joins many colleagues in expressing appreciation for the tireless advocacy of Rhonda Neuhaus.  As the policy analyst for the pioneering Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a USICD member organization, Rhonda has been deeply involved with issues ranging from inclusive education to community living, and her advocacy for U.S. ratification of the CRPD has been boundless.  Collaborating with USICD, she has helped build a network of advocates across the country, presented to countless audiences, and traveled the halls of Congress tirelessly to achieve ratification.  We are so grateful and inspired by her hard work and commitment.  She has helped build a movement!


As Rhonda now shifts to focus on consulting in the field, fostering other personal endeavors, and taking advantage of a Fulbright Award she has received, her friends and colleagues celebrate all that she has done and is yet to do on behalf of people with disabilities and our families around the world.  We wish her much success on her next fulfilling journey in life.  Lead on, Rhonda!

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Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judy Heumann's Facebook Page
In This Issue
March Membership Month
Visitors from Mongolia
Novath Rukwago, Exec Dir of Tanzania federation DPO, becomes LLM candidate at American University
USICD Member Shares Advocacy Strategies in Ireland
USICD Thanks Global Advocate Rhonda Neuhaus

Events and Opportunities


CRPD Ratification Watch
As of March 2015:
  • 159 Signatories
  • 153 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 85 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Marshall Islands Ratified the Convention on March 17, 2015

Vietnam Ratified the Convention on February 5, 2015

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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