August 2015
Americans with Disabilities Act Inspires
Global Expansion of Disability Rights
25 Years Later, We Should Be Proud that the ADA Triggered an Expansion of Human Rights and Protections Globally 

(Washington, D.C.) When disability advocates started talking about the need for an international disability rights treaty, the frame of reference was the Americans with Disabilities Act. The legislation signed into law by President H.W. Bush, on July 26, 1990-the ADA-was the catalyst and the foundation on which the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was built. Now is an appropriate time to acknowledge that the ADA and CRPD are close siblings.

Message from U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry on the ADA Anniversary 
America leads on disability rights by example, but we must advance them internationally, says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in "The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 25: Now We Must Work for Global Equality."

USICD President Shares Vision for the ADA
as a Model for the World
Dr. Patricia Morrissey, President of USICD's Board of Directors, was recently quoted in an article by Janet E. Lord in Foreign Policy in Focus entitled "The Americans with Disabilities Act is a Model for the World--Literally: The landmark U.S. disability rights legislation became the basis for an international treaty embraced by much of the world - but not, ironically, by the U.S. itself."
In speaking about what the disability community should try to accomplish with a Senate that currently does not support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Pat Morrissey was quoted as saying, "At a minimum we should amend section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federally conducted programs or activities and in federally financial assistance awarded in the U.S., by deleting 'U.S.', and extending the reach of section 504 overseas."

Read the whole article by Janet Lord here.


Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Honors the ADA,
Calls for CRPD Ratification

"Today, we honor the heroes who fought so hard for the ADA and reflect upon the innumerable contributions that people with disabilities have made to our nation," writes Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson on the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.
Read the full press release here.  USICD is a proud member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
ABC News Highlights Abuse Investigation
by Disability Rights International in Mexico
"Though the streets of Mexico City teem with signs of the country's growing wealth [...] in the shadows, children can be found alone and neglected behind locked doors and windows."

ABC News covers Disability Rights International's recent victory in banning the use of cages and restraints in Mexico -- read or watch the piece here 
USICD Executive Director Moderates Discussion Upon 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Conference on the Status of Women

A monthly series at the Society for International Development in 2015, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Women's Conference, was the venue for a discussion on July 29 titled "Beijing's Lost Platform: Gender and Disability" and featured USICD members Stephanie Ortoleva of Women Enabled International, Susan Sygall of Mobility International USA, Diana Samarasan of the Disability Rights Fund, and executive director David Morrissey.


Twenty years ago, the Beijing Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern for governments, NGOs and other actors - and disability was not included. The focus of this session, as with each monthly discussion, is the progress made since 1995 and the challenges and opportunities moving forward. The event also featured Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State other expert panelists.


USICD Executive Director David Morrissey speaks at panel discussion


From left, David Morrissey, Diana Samarasan of the Disability Rights Fund, Adrianne Biddings of Google Inc, and Emma Pearce of the Women's Refugee Commission discuss how to elevate women with disabilities in global development and human rights. (Photo: thanks to USCD member Asiah Mason.)

USICD Program Interns Say Farewell to DC
This summer, USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program brought six students and recent graduates with disabilities from across the United States to Washington, DC.  Each intern was placed at a different international organization based in the DC area to complete their eight-week internship.  USICD also assigned a mentor to each intern who supported them in considering their long-term plan for careers in international development or foreign affairs and in strengthening their network of contacts among professionals in the field.

At the end of the summer program, USICD program interns gathered for a farewell party.  They were joined by their mentors, their task supervisors, USICD staff, and representatives from the program primary funder, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

During the summer, the interns have been writing a series of blog posts about their internship experiences and what they have learned from their experience in DC.  Some blog posts have been posted, others will be posted soon.  Read their thoughts at USICD's blog.

Program sponsor representative Kevin Webb of Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation honors the 2015 Youth in International Affairs and Development interns for their successful summer of service in Washington, July 24, 2015.

USICD interns, their program sponsors, and host organization colleagues join together for a farewell reception in downtown Washington.

Submit Your "Best Practice" Story! 
USICD seeks YOUR "best practice" stories about how your organization has successfully engaged interns with disabilities in your workplace!  We welcome anecdotes about how your interns have had a positive impact on your organization.
We also are eager to hear best practice examples from international organizations of how you have boosted recruitment and become more inclusive of interns and workers with disabilities.


If selected, your story could be included in the next edition of our newly released training manual, Engaging Interns with Disabilities at International Organizations.  Our manual shares tips on making the process of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and employing interns more proactively inclusive and builds a workplace that fosters success for every intern.  


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USICD's blog features a series of blog posts from this year's cohort of USICD program interns!
In This Issue
ADA Inspires Global Expansion of Disability Rights
The ADA Turns 25
The ADA is a Model for the World--Literally
Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights Calls for CRPD Ratification on Anniversary of the ADA
ABC News Highlights DRI Investigation into Abuse in Mexico
USICD Executive Director on Panel
USICD Program Interns Say Farewell to DC
Submit Your "Best Practice" Story!

Events and Opportunities

Disability Rights Fund seeks a Haiti grants consultant. Click here to learn more. 
Able Child Africa is seeking for an Administrative and Finance Assistant

Action on Disability and Development is seeking for a Director of Finance and Operations  

ENDependence Center of Norther Virginia seeks Executive Director


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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)

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of July 2015:
  • 159 Signatories
  • 157 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 87 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Gambia Ratified the Convention on July 7, 2015
Trinidad and Tobago Ratified the Convention on June 25, 2015
Madagascar Ratified the Convention on June 12, 2015
Kazakhstan Ratified the Convention on April 21, 2015 
Turkey Ratified the Convention on March 26, 2015
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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