May 2016
What USICD Membership Means to Me: Yoshiko Dart
This year, USICD will highlight both our individual and
Senator Bob Dole posing with Yoshiko Dart
Yoshiko Dart, right, joins Senator Bob Dole celebrating the 2015 International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
organizational members, and have them share why they are committed to the global disability community and to membership in USICD.

This month, we asked long-time USICD member Yoshiko Dart to share her perspectie. In explaining why she cherishes her membership in USICD, she wanted to share a quote from her late husband and disability rights advocate Justin Dart. In 1994, Justin Dart made remarks at the Disabled People's International World Congress in Sydney, Australia, where he said, "During my remaining time on earth I would like to try my best in contributing my limited ability, capacity and resources toward a more just society and a betterment of humanity.  I know I am just one human being - a tiny speck in the vast Universe, and yet, I have my own power I can/must use.  That is why I do what I do - supporting USICD is one of my important activities.  It is a fact - which is being recorded in the history of this Universe."

Yoshiko says she has been trying to respond to Justin's call to action ever since, and this is why she remains an active member of USICD.

Why are you a USICD member?  Please submit your comments to Andrea Shettle at Please include a picture of yourself or your organization's logo. We will be pleased to feature you and your comment in a future issue of USICD's newsletter.

Learn more about the benefits of USICD membership and how to join at
Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities Passes Second Year Milestone
Group of people with row of nine standing people in back three wheelchair users in front
First national meeting of cross disability community in Myanmar
Two years ago, USICD member and legal consultant Allison deFranco came to Myanmar to provide training and technical assistance to disability rights leaders in building a national cross-disability advocacy organization. Today, the Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities (MFPD) is working to promote disability rights in their country and to monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  USICD congratulates the Myanmar disability community on their two years of progress and celebrates their initiative in strengthening cooperation across and Logo for Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities Green circle with shape of Myanmar in purple and white logos for wheelchair icon signing hands blind person with cane and a brain between disability groups!  Allison will be back in Yangon and Mandalay later this month to continue training activities. USICD is proud to be a partner and friend to MFPD!
Celebrating 10 Years of the CRPD!
Ten years ago, in 2006, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was first created. Today, 162 countries--and also the European Union--have ratified the CRPD.

Woman with no arms on video with sign interpreter in a box and with caption saying We have good reason to celebrate
Celebrating CRPD 10th anniversary in video
Technically the 10th anniversary is not until December 13 this year. But some entities have started noting the anniversary early, in recognition of the eight-year anniversary of when the CRPD entered into force on May 3rd, 2008.  

  • Members of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have released a video to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the CRPD. During the seven minutes of video, committee members share the impact that the CRPD has had on the lives of people with disabilities around the world, and the challenges that remain ahead. The video has both open captions and also translation into international signs.
  • The Making It Work initiative shared news about a special event held in part to recognize the 10th anniversary of the CRPD.
  • See separate story in this issue about Disability Rights Fund's launch of their newly redesigned website.
USICD Welcomes 2016 Cohort of Interns
USICD welcomes its fourth cohort of interns to participate in the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program!  Each year, USICD's internship program brings students and recent graduates with disabilities from across the United States to Washington, DC, to complete summer internships at various international organizations in the DC area.  
This program is made possible by the generous support of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.  During the first three years of the program, USICD placed 21 interns at 15 different host organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Each intern will be learning more about prospective future careers in international development or foreign affairs during their internship placements. USICD also will be assisting them with networking among new professional contacts in international development--a crucial skill for attaining a successful career in the field.  If any USICD member feels they are in a position to help introduce any of our incoming interns to relevant contacts in the field, please communicate with USICD program manager Andrea Shettle at

The bios for all four interns follow below.  Those interested in learning more about each host organization or each intern can follow the relevant web links to the host organizations' websites and to the LinkedIn profiles for each intern. 
Hannah Chadwick

Woman with long hair
Hannah Chadwick-Dias
Hannah Chadwick has a passion for developing and supporting causes that make a difference in the world. She has recently completed her bachelor's degree at UC Davis with a double major in International Relations and Chinese.

Growing up in a rural village in China where there is no educational opportunities for children with disabilities has strengthened Hannah's commitment to advocating for social justice and equality, as well as enriched her insights into the challenges and potential solutions.

Hannah's goal is to develop programs that are locally sustainable, and that address the issues of education for all children, human trafficking, or water and food scarcity.

In the summer of 2016, Hannah will be working as an intern with World Learning, which works to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, development, and exchange programs. Hannah hopes to gain a better understanding of programs currently in existence that address injustice internationally.

Connect with Hannah Chadwick via LinkedIn at

Vivian Fridas

Woman in a short white patterned dress with a medium sized black dog
Vivian Fridas
Vivian Fridas holds a graduate degree in Government and Politics from St. John's University. She concentrated on International Relations and received a certificate in International Law and Diplomacy in 2013. Most recently, Vivian interned with the International Disability Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting the rights of people with disabilities through the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). During this time, Vivian worked on projects that included monitoring the progress of the post-2015 development Agenda and inclusion of people with disabilities in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

In addition, Vivian volunteers her time with Guiding Eyes for the Blind in many different capacities. She is a big advocate of guide dog related issues, such as equal access and educating the surrounding community about discrimination against guide dog handlers.

Vivian is returning to DC this summer as an intern at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) office and as a mentor to the new incoming interns. She previously was part of the 2014 cohort of USICD program interns when she was placed at the National Democratic Institute working on addressing barriers to political participation for people with disabilities.

Connect with Vivian Fridas via LinkedIn at

Shafeka Hashash

Woman with a colorful shirt
Shafeka Hashash
Shafeka Hashash has just graduated from NYU where she completed a Master's degree program in political science, with a track in political economy. She also completed an undergraduate double major in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. She has spent her life involved in activism having served as presidents for the New Jersey Association of Blind Students as well as NYU's Students for Justice in Palestine, and most recently has served as an organizer and contract steward in her university's grad student union, UAW Local-2110. In the past two years Shafeka has translated social justice campaigns to the scientific world, working at both NYU and Cornell as an Information Science graduate researcher, adapting technologies to help disadvantaged populations. She is thrilled to continue this technological social science work at the Women's Refugee Commission this summer, and after working for some time she aims to pursue a Ph.D in the field of science, technology, and society.

Shafeka Hashash will be completing her summer internship at the Women's Refugee Commission, which works to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis.

Connect with Shafeka Hashash via LinkedIn at

Elizabeth Heideman

Woman with long blond hair
Elizabeth Heideman
Elizabeth Heideman earned her BA in English and Philosophy from Tulane University, and has since worked as a journalist, reporting on disability rights and social justice for publications including Time, Salon and The Daily Beast. Her work has covered everything from the sexual repression of people with disabilities, to ableist police training that leads to violence against the disability community.
Her previous work experience includes research on comparative disability policy and intense advocacy on Capitol Hill regarding US ratification of the UN CRPD.

Elizabeth plans to apply her journalism skills to a career in human rights research and advocacy for people with disabilities living in developing countries. She will soon begin a master's degree program in development and human rights in fall 2017.

She will complete her 2016 USICD program summer internship at the National Democratic Institute. NDI works to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Connect with Elizabeth Heideman via LinkedIn at
Zero Project 2017: Call for Nominations for Innovative Policies on Employment
Once again, the Zero Project team would like to invite leading experts and organizations to nominate innovative policies concerning this year's topic:


The "Innovative Policies 2017 on Employment" will be selected by the Zero Project network of experts in a multistep process, and will be
  • Featured in the Zero Project Report 2017, on its website and on social media platforms; and
  • Their representatives will be invited to speak at the Zero Project Conference in Vienna (Austria) in February 2017. Green text on a white background says Zero Project in between the two words is the image of a sprout with three leaves
Innovative Policies can be laws, regulations, standards, strategies, programmes, adopted by local, regional and national parliaments, governments or public authorities. Please note that the call for nominations of Innovative Practices --
projects, products, services, social enterprises, business strategies by private or nonprofit entities -- is forthcoming in May 2016. (More information at:

Submitting a nomination is easy:
Read the instructions first and then complete the nomination form at the link (also available in other languages):

Anyone can nominate!  More information about the initiative and what to consider for nomination is available at
Please send the completed nomination form to by May 15, 2016; 23:59 Central European Time (CET).

Zero Project is looking forward to receiving your nomination! 
Disability Rights Fund Celebrates CRPD Anniversary with Newly Redesigned Website
The Disability Rights Fund (DRF), a USICD colleague organization, has launched a newly redesigned website for their grantees, donors, colleagues, and friends. The website enables human rights advocates and other users to learn more about their work, celebrate the accomplishments of grantees, and access a collection of resources on global disability rights.  The DRF is a collaborative effort among donors to empower people with disabilities to advocate for equal rights and full participation in society.  It has funded projects in 32 countries involved with the ratification, implementation, and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Logo in stark black and white says Disability Rights Fund This year, the global community celebrates the 10th year the Convention on the Rights on Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been in existence since its text was finalized in late 2006.  May 3rd this year is also the eighth anniversary of when the CRPD entered into force in 2008.  The Disability Rights Fund timed the launch of their redesigned website to coincide with these celebrations.

Visit the new DRF website to start exploring their resource library for materials on various human rights instruments as well as toolkits and other resources for policy advocacy, rights training, and organizational capacity: 
Repercussions from the Lynching of Three Deaf Women in Haiti Continues
In the April issue of USICD's newsletter, we reported on the response of the Haiti Deaf and disability communities to the brutal In a crowd of protesters one woman holds a sign saying in French Sommes Nous Tous les Trois Femmes Sourdes murders of three deaf women in their country.  Staff at USICD's colleague organization, Disability Rights Fund, were immensely helpful in gathering information for the April article.

2nd Community Based Rehabilitation World Congress to be held September 2016
The second Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) World Congress will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from September 27 to 29, 2016. The theme for this year will be "CBR: Empowering and Enabling."  CBR practitioners, disabled people's organizations (DPOs), civil society, government, and academics are invited to engage in dialogue to promote the well-being of people with disabilities around the world.  

The 2nd World Congress hopes to show how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can ensure that people with disabilities become assets to their nations. It wishes to promote adequate investment by governments and societies through early intervention in education, health, social and economic development, while also removing barriers, creating physical access, and providing assistive technologies.  Plenary sessions will reflect on how CBR contributes to implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the post-2015 development framework via the SDGs.

Learn more about the 2nd CBR World Congress at 

Learn how authors and presenters can submit an abstract at
The deadline to submit an abstract is May 15, 2016. Authors who are accepted will be notified by June 30, 2016.  Accepted authors will then need to submit their final paper by July 31, 2016.

A photo in red and black showing parts of a wheelchair frame and wheels
USICD Has Moved Across Town!
Red brick building with gray entrance and long ramp The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) has now moved across town!  Our new contact information follows below:

U.S. International Council on Disabilities
National Youth Transitions Center
2013 H Street NW, Suite 200
Washington DC 20006

Phone: (202) 480-2332

Please update your address books.  Our web link and email addresses remain the same.

Ground floor at 2013 H Street NW black tile floor long entrance ramp glass walls to right and front entrance
 M-Enabling Summit
The M-Enabling Summit is a joint initiative of the Global Initiative for Inclusive 
A round logo with white text on a blue background M-Enabling Summit June 13-14 2016 Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and E.J. Krause & Associates (EJK) to promote mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities leveraging the latest operating systems, handsets and tablets based technologies. The fifth edition of the M-Enabling Summit will be held on June 2016 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC.
Learn more about the M-Enabling Summit, to be held in Washington, DC, on June 13 and 14, 2016.
Correction from April Issue 
Woman with a dark shirt and shoulder-length hair
Edurne Garcia Iriatre
In the April 2016 USICD newsletter, we incorrectly identified the place of employment for researcher, author, and director Edurne Garcia Iriatre: she is Director of the Disability Studies Program at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, not Trinidad.
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In This Issue
What USICD Membership Means to Me: Yoshiko Dart
Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities Celebrates Year Two!
CRPD Celebrates 10th Anniversary!
USICD Welcomes 2016 Cohort of Interns!
Zero Project 2017: Call for Nominations for Innovative Policies on Employment
Disability Rights Fund Celebrates CRPD Anniversary with Newly Redesigned Website
Repercussions from the Lynching of Three Deaf Women in Haiti Continue
2nd CBR World Congress to be held September 2016
USICD Has Moved Across Town!
M-Enabling Summit
Webinar on Disability and Human Rights
Events and Opportunities

Submit articles on disability inclusive education for publication, in Enabling Education Review 2016. Submit by May 30, 2016.

M-Enabling Summit and Showcase, June 13-14 2016, in Washington DC

Ninth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons (COSP) with Disabilities (CRPD) to be held June 14-16, 2016

8th International Summer School on Disability Law and Policy, The Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway, to be held June 20-24, 2016

2016 U.S. Business Leadership Network Conference September 19-22, 2016, Disability Inclusion: The Future Redefined

2nd CBR World Congress held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Sept 27 to 29, 2016, with the theme "CBR: Empowering and Enabling" Deadline for authors to submit an abstract is May 15, 2016.

Disability and the Global South journal calls for articles on Disability in the Sustainable Development Goals: Critical Reflections, deadline to submit for first round reviews is October 15, 2016


For more international disability news, events, and opportunities, check USICD's Twitter FeedUSICD's Facebook page, or USICD's LinkedIn page!
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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)

Marcie Roth (FEMA)

Sue Swenson (OSERS)

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of May 2016:
  • 160 Signatories
  • 164 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 89 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Finland ratified the convention on May 11, 2016

Brunei Darussalam ratified the convention on April 11, 2016

Sri Lanka ratified the convention on February 8, 2016

Antigua and Barbuda ratified the convention on January 7, 2016

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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