Apply for USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs Internship Program!
The summer 2016 Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program is only open for applications until January 12, 2016. 

USICD's internship program focuses on youth with disabilities from across the U.S. who intend to pursue careers in international development or foreign affairs.  
The summer 2016 internship program will bring a group of talented
Five people stand in back_ two people are seated in wheelchairs in front
The 2015 cohort of Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program with USICD staff
graduate students, recent graduates, and rising juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, D.C., for nine weeks.  This will include a one-week training and orientation program followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization in the Washington, D.C., area.  USICD will cover the cost of accessible housing during the program, reimburse travel expenses to and from D.C., and provide a limited stipend.  

To  learn more about the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program, eligibility criteria, anticipated dates, and the application process, please visit
USICD thanks the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation for their support for this initiative!
Application deadline for USICD's summer 2016 internship program is January 12, 2016.
Your Passion is Our Mission--Let's Do it Together
If you're subscribed to the USICD newsletter, you're probably passionate about the human rights of people with disabilities around the globe.

Your passion is our mission.

You might know that 90 percent of children with disabilities are not in school. And 70 million people globally need wheelchairs--but as many as 85 to 95 percent don't have one. USICD alone does not have the capacity to put millions of children in school or to support thousands of local entrepreneurs in producing wheelchairs in their countries. But with your help, we do have the capacity to teach disability rights so youth and adults with disabilities can become strong advocates for better policies and community inclusion.

That's why we are asking you to make a tax deductible donation by December 31st.  Your donation of any amount today--$50, $100, $150 or more--will help us meet our goal of $25,000 to expand our programs internationally.

Our Board of Directors and staff is filled with committed advocates: a Paralympic medalist, nationally and internationally recognized leaders, authors, and more.  We share your commitment to seeing the U.S. Senate ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Though not achieved yet, we are encouraged by new allies and our bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.  Your membership and continued support is central to our success!  We cannot do this without you.  And USICD is connecting our community with disability rights movements in Myanmar, Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam, Armenia, and other countries.

Many of USICD's Board of Directors and staff have regularly given, not only our time, but also our donated dollars to USICD because we know how much it costs to do the work we do.  Won't you join us?

The USICD Board and staff thank you and wish you a wonderful holiday season and New Year.
USICD Celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities with Gala!
On the eve of the 2015 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, USICD celebrated with its second annual Gala reception, hosted in partnership with Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC.  USICD opened the evening calling for a moment of silence in solidarity with all victims of violence and our brothers and sisters with disabilities affected by the tragic incident that unfolded just hours before the event in San Bernadino, California.
Every year at its Gala, USICD honors an American policymaker with the Dole-Harkin award for distinction in public service to the global disability community. This year, the honoree was Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Senator Ayotte has been a longtime advocate for people with disabilities.
USICD also honors an international disability rights advocate each year. This year, USICD honored Kalle Könkkölä of Finland for outstanding service in advancing the rights, opportunities, and dignity of persons with disabilities.
USICD wishes to extend special thanks Her Excellency Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador Finland to the United States, and to generous underwriting sponsors: Google, JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, Alston & Bird LLP, New Editions Consulting, The Bowen Group, Disability Rights Fund, the National Organization on Disability, and World Learning.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is recognized each year on December 3rd.  The global theme for this year is "Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of All Abilities." 
The U.S. Department of State has posted a declaration on the 2015 International Day of Persons with Disabilities 
The White House has posted a declaration on the 2015 International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
One row of gala guests are seated around a table_ another row of people stand behind them
In celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the #USICDGala in Washington DC on December 2nd, 2015, from left to right: Marca Bristo, Kalle Konkkola, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Bob Dole, and Judith Heumann. Back row: USICD President Dr. Patricia Morrissey, USICD Treasurer Dr. David Hutt, Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi of Finland, U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist USICD Board Member Candace Cable, and USICD Executive Director David Morrissey.

On Twitter, join the conversation at #USICDGala.
First-Ever Survey on Advocacy for the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities Globally
Women Enabled International launched a survey this year to create the first-ever map and report from advocates for the rights of women and girls with disabilities globally. They have had overwhelming success learning from the responses to their Survey and Mapping project.

Nearly 300 key advocates from over sixty countries participated in the survey, provided in English, Spanish and French.  Women Enabled International has announced a few preliminary results:

Key issues organizations address_ for women and girls with disabilities. Pie chart indicates about one-eighths of respondents address Preventing and ending gender based violence_ another one eight on sexual and reproductive health_ another eighth on policy and advocacy_ another eigth on education rights and support_ a smaller segment on employment rights and support. The rest is focused on a wide range of other issues including access to caregiving_ women affected by war_ conflict situations and natural disasters_ media activism_ budget monitoring_ legal capacity and autonomy_ and many more

* Among the key issues that organizations address, in terms of women and girls with disabilities, there was a varied distribution of responses:
* 98% of respondents said collaboration among organizations advocating for women & girls is important.
* Over half of responding organizations are managed by women & girls with disabilities.
* Over 30% of organizations are focused primarily on women with disabilities rights.
* Organizations serve & represent an average of 100 - 500 women & girls with disabilities annually, with an even mix of urban & rural women.

Most organizations focusing on women with disabilities struggle for funding and depend on volunteers and small donations to fund their critical work.
G3ict and Global Accessibility Leaders Call Upon All World Governments to Only Buy Accessible Technology
The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) - a digital inclusion and human rights advocacy organization launched in 2006 at the initiative of the United Nations - announced today a global charter calling on governments worldwide to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities by demanding only accessible technology from their suppliers. G3ict recognized G3ict logo the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by launching this charter with an international group of accessibility leaders, including the Australian Communications Consumer Action network (ACCAN), the Mexican National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS), the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the Turkish Confederation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, and several other leading accessibility organizations and experts from around the world.

"Governments at all levels, local, regional, national, and international, can use their substantial purchasing power to influence how the technology industry designs its products and services," said James Thurston, Vice President for Strategy and Development at G3ict. "With this charter, we recognize that governments worldwide are among the largest customers for technology and we urge them to use that power to require increasingly accessible ICT products that support greater digital inclusion of persons with disabilities. We are proud to be launching this global charter with partners from government, civil society, academia, and industry. We invite others to join this movement toward even more accessible technology."

Inclusion by Design Impact Awards Launch
On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Physical Activity and Sport Task Force of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) is launching the Inclusion by Design Impact Awards. The goal of this award is to inspire and share best practices that demonstrate excellence and innovation in their approach to achieving more inclusion for children and adolescents with disabilities around the world.

Inclusion by Design Impact Awards in Sports and Physical Activity, backslash innovation-challenge hashtag CommitToInclusion The GPcwd Task Force on Physical Activity and Sport, led by UNICEF, the Lakeshore Foundation, the Institute for Human Centered Design and the American College of Sports Medicine, is engaging a worldwide search for innovative approaches to adapt the rules, equipment, teaching approaches and environment in all areas related to physical activity and sport that foster greater diversity and inclusion of children and adolescents with disabilities.
The overall winner, with the 'most innovative approach', will receive $1000, second place will receive $500 and third place will receive $250. The money is intended to further promote and spread the use or implementation of the innovation.

A panel of judges will decide on the most innovative approaches, along set criteria. Judges include representatives from IFAPA, IPC, Special Olympics, UNICEF, UNESCO as well as a member of the GPcwd Youth Council, a famous model/advocate with disability, and a global leader in inclusive design.  The application deadline is January 31, 2016.

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Considering applying for USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program for summer 2016! Application deadline is January 12, 2016.
In This Issue
Apply for USICD's Internship Program!
Your Passion is Our Mission--Let's Do it Together
USICD Celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities!
First-Ever Survey on Advocacy for the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities Globally
G3ict and Global Accessibility Leaders Call Upon All World Governments to Only Buy Accessible Technology
Inclusion by Design Impact Awards Launch
Events and Opportunities
Apply by January 12, 2016

Project Coordinator for National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) project at Mobility International USA: Apply by December 21, 2015


The South African Human Rights Commission has released a Toolkit for the private sector, Promoting the Right to Work for Persons with Disabilities in PDF format

For the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) relaunches their Disability Framework and reviews progress during the past year toward becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities in their development projects in developing countries

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Board of Directors

Patricia Morrissey - President

John Wodatch- Vice President

David Hutt - Treasurer

Glen White - Secretary

Marca Bristo - Past President

Lex Frieden                    Candace Cable

Jennifer Dexter

Daniel Fisher 

Jill Houghton

Axel Leblois

Barbara LeRoy

Janet Lord

Susan Mazrui

Jerry McCloskey

Faith McCormick

Sheila Newman

Stephanie Ortoleva

Susan Parker

Debra Perry

Neil Romano 

Eric Rosenthal

Diana Samarasan



Government Representatives

David Baquis (US Access Board)

Joan Durocher (NCD)

Meredith DeDonna (ODEP)

MarcieRoth (FEMA)

Sue Swenson (OSERS)

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of November 2015:
  • 160 Signatories
  • 160 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 88 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Sao Tome and Principe ratified the Convention on November 5, 2015

Democratic Republic of the Congo Ratified the Convention on September 30, 2015

Bahama Ratified the Convention on September 28, 2015
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

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