November 2016
USICD's 2016 Gala to Celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

USICD will host our third annual gala on December 1, 2016 in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Gala will be held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hall of Flags in Washington, D.C.

At this special event, we celebrate the         2016 Honorees!
global disability rights movement.
Senator Al Franken
We honor those American policymakers with the Dole-Harkin Award for distinction in public service to the global disability community.  And we honor an overseas disability rights advocate for outstanding work in advancing the rights, opportunities, and dignity of persons with disabilities.

This year we are thrilled to honor Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State, and Guatemalan Disability Rights Advocate Silvia Quan.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers
The annual USICD gala brings together disability rights advocates, legislative leaders, new and long-term donors, business and philanthropic
leaders, and other friends of USICD and the global disability community.

Visit our Gala web page to learn more about this year's honorees and to receive exciting updates!

Ready to purchase your ticket? 

Guatemalan Advocate Silvia Quan 


USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs Internship Program Opens for Applications!
The summer 2017 Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program is open for applications until January 10, 2017.

USICD's internship program focuses on U.S. citizen youth with disabilities from across the country who intend to pursue careers in international development or foreign affairs.

Woman with long dark hair works at her computer terminal at the office The summer 2017 internship program will bring a group of talented U.S. citizen 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 2017 internship program is January 10, 2017.
What is your Senate candidate's position on CRPD ratification?
The CRPD Support logo which says We support CRPD on the inside and Inclusion Dignity Equality around the outside with logos for sign interpreter wheelchair audio loop and person with white cane

With national elections coming up next week, USICD is asking candidates in open races for election to the U.S. Senate one question: What is your position on U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? 

The CRPD is the first international agreement among countries to uphold and protect the human rights of people with disabilities. 
So far 167 countries have ratified the CRPD, but the U.S. has not yet joined them. The U.S. can only ratify an international treaty if a "super majority" two-thirds of the Senate votes in support of ratification.  

Senate candidates's responses are posted on our websiteVisit now to learn if the candidates for your state support the CRPDThe website provides details on whether they support U.S. ratification, whether they oppose ratification, and also lists non-responsive candidates. Check to see if your State candidates have responded to our question yet.  If they have not responded, then we need your help!  Reach out to the campaign teams for the Senate candidates in your state and ask them to respond to USICD's question on whether they support U.S. ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

USICD's CRPD Education & Advocacy program is not possible without community support.  Will you help us?
Delegates from Six Countries Convene in Washington, DC, to Activate Disability Rights Implementation at Home!
 Swirling lines in blue purple orange and gray next to the black text words Global Disability Rights Now_
USICD, in partnership with three other leading U.S. organizations, hosted a delegation of 25 disability rights leaders from six countries to Washington, DC, for the RightsNow!: Exploring the U.S. Model Conference in September 2016.     
A group of people sit in a large circle one person speaks in a mike another stands by to retrieve the mike
RightsNow delegates take turns speaking
This prestigious and
high-level conference is part of the RightsNow!: Strong Communities Through Enforcing the rights of Persons with Disabilities Project, funded by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State.

The conference brought together delegations from six countries--Armenia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam. Participants learned best practices for disability inclusion; not only in the U.S., but also in the other countries represented at the conference. Disabled people's organization and government representatives from the same country assessed and prioritized the most urgent advocacy, policy, and programming needs of the disability communities in their country. 

Some of the most powerful lessons reported were that the barriers and frustrations experienced by people with disabilities are common
Three small groups of people are each clustered around their own round table in conversation One more empty table is near them
Country teams meet to discuss disability rights and priorities at home
across all countries. And, disability communities from all countries are a creative fount of ideas and strategies for resolving these challenges. Delegates left the conference with ideas for implementation at home.

The RightsNow! project is administrated by Mobility International USA, which works in partnership with USICD, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and the International Foundation on Electoral Systems (IFES) to implement the project. Learn more about the project at
WANTED: Marketing and Public Communications Intern!
Are you a brilliantly talented, emerging professional in the field of marketing and/or public relations? Ready to channel your innovative resourcefulness for the benefit of an organization dedicated to promoting the human rights of people with disabilities around the world? Then you might be the right fit for USICD's opening for a Marketing and Public Communications Intern!

Take the lead in raising the public visibility of USICD's training manual, Engaging Workers with Disabilities at International Organizations, particularly among human resources personnel and managers at U.S.-based international non-governmental organizations. Raise USICD's overall visibility in the international development community as a source of knowledge, training, and technical assistance in disability inclusion in the work place, disability inclusion in international development programming, knowledge curation in disability rights, and disability inclusion in US foreign affairs and relations.

Learn more about the position and how to apply.
USICD Member, Disability Rights International, Featured in The Guardian
A recent article in The Guardian features Disability Rights International (DRI), a USICD organizational member that has worked for years to end the institutionalization of all children, especially children with disabilities. Their argument is that even the best institutions cannot provide the loving, nurturing stability of a family, and not nearly enough institutions are among "the best."

The years long campaign of DRI has highlighted and documented rampant abuse against children with disabilities across many institutions in many countries around the world, including the U.S. DRI has also assisted governments with closing some institutions and with creating healthier, happier living arrangements for children. However, many institutions remain open and continue to perpetuate profound neglect and abuse. 

A young child with a partly obscured dirty face peers out through a piece of torn paper The text says in red letters Disability Rights International
Two-Month Commemorative Rally Remembers Victims of Attack on Care Facility Residents
Recently the Japan national assembly member of Disabled People's International (DPI), DPI-Japan, held a commemorative rally in the middle of Tokyo for the victims and survivors of the atrocity that took place in an institution for people with severe disabilities in Sagamihara, Japan. People from across Japan supported the rally with cards and flowers for the 19 people with disabilities killed in the July 26 attack and the 26 people with disabilities who were wounded. 

The attacker surrendered to the police said, "It is better that disabled people disappear." Some disability rights advocates and bloggers have described the event as a disability-based hate crime. Read USICD's special announcement dedicated to the incident, disseminated two months ago.

Learn more about the recent two-month commemorative rally at 
Quito Made History for Disability Equality, Inclusive Cities and Inclusive Society at HABITAT III
A six sided figure formed of trianges in shades of blue orange yellow green and gray
The word inclusion with each letter drawn in black outline and partly filled with patches of color in red orange yellow blue green and purple
A unique live aerial human art project: INCLUSION: A Vision for Unity made history at the United Nations Habitat III.
By using over 300 diverse participants joining together from Quito and around the world on Tuesday, October 18 at 3:00 pm, the word INCLUSION was photographed from above using a drone. 
Diplomats, architects and engineers from the conference joined in the innovative event with other local and international attendees.
People holding blue umbrellas form the word Inclusion people holding yellow and orange umbrellas form the sun around it  
The project, held at the El Arbolito Park Fountain, was directed by the internationally renowned artist John Quigley, producer and human rights activist. Dr. Victor Pineda, President of World ENABLED, engaged with participants as 170 locally sourced umbrellas were distributed and everyone formed the letters of the word INCLUSION. 
The event was designed to elevate the way in which people think about inclusion around the world; to show that cities should be accessible and inclusive to all people with disabilities; and that people with disabilities should be included in all urban development and planning process. 

Read more details about the conference

USICD and MIUSA Host Vietnam Visitors
Working in collaboration with USICD member, Mobility International USA (MIUSA), USICD recently hosted visitors from Vietnam to learn about U.S. approaches to promoting Panel speakers are seated at a table in front of an audience of visitors from Vietnam disability rights. 

USICD Executive Director, David Morrissey, joined a panel of US-based experts to share the U.S. experience in implementing disability rights. The Vietnamese visitors were government officials and representatives from civil society. All shared an interest in improving the implementation of disability rights in their country, and in learning from the experiences of other countries with similar challenges.
Marca Bristo, Past USICD President, Appointed to Obama Foundation Inclusion Council
Marca Bristo 

USICD would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Marca Bristo on her recent appointment to the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council, a council focusing on diversity issues through the upcoming Obama Presidential Center. 

Marca is a past president of USICD, a current member of USICD's Board of Directors, and is current President and CEO of Access Living in Chicago. In a recent press release, the Obama Foundation remarked that the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council "will provide analysis and recommendations for developing, monitoring, and executing diversity and inclusion initiatives." 

Marca has been with Access Living for more than 30 years since she helped found the organization in 1980, and is considered a pioneer of the disability rights movement in Chicago. She also served as chair of the National Council on Disability from 1994-2002. More recently, she played a key role in organizing the ADA25 Chicago initiative, which sought to expand disability inclusion in Chicago to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which she helped draft). We could not be more proud of Marca and this most recent accomplishment.  

USICD Board Member, Candace Cable, selected Vice Chair of the LA2024 Bid Team!
Rio Tom & Candace Cable
Rio Tom & Candace Cable
USICD congratulates USICD Board Member, Candace Cable, on her position as Vice Chair of LA2024 bid team! 
The LA2024 bid team hopes to bring the Summer Olympics and Paralympics to Los Angeles. 

USICD also congratulates Candace for completing a successful trip to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to take part in the Observers Program and Inclusion Summit!

An accomplished athlete and a pioneer in the sport of wheelchair racing, Candace has competed in 9 Winter and Summer Paralympics Games and 3 Olympics Games, during which she won a total of 14 medals and became the first American to medal in the Winter and Summer Paralympic games in 1992. Her athletic career encompassed 84 marathon wins, around the world, including 6 first place finishes in the Boston Marathon.  

Candace retired from competitive Paralympic sport in 2006, and is currently a disability awareness and access trainer for the Open Doors Organization, a writer and webinar host. Additionally, she serves as Paralympic skiing representative on the U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council, as a consultant to UNICEF, and as UN representative to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (an organization serving those with spinal cord injuries).  We are very proud of her most recent addition to her already noteworthy list of accomplishments. You will have the opportunity to meet Candace at the USICD Gala this year! Purchase your tickets today!!

David Morrissey Presents to International Federation on Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus           
David Morrissey presents to the International Federation on Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Ghent, Belgium, October 2016.
USICD Executive Director David Morrissey attended the October 2016 meeting of the International Federation on Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Ghent, Belgium.  David copresented a session on aging with Spina Bifida.  He also serves in the Federation's human rights seat for its Global Experts Panel.
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In This Issue
USICD's 2016 Gala to Celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
USICD Internship Program Opens for Applications for Summer 2017!
How Will Your Senators Vote on the Disability Treaty (CRPD)?
Advocates from Six Countries Convene in Washington, DC, to Activate Disability Rights Implementation!
WANTED: Marketing and Public Communications Intern!
USICD Member Disability Rights International Featured in the Guardian
Two-Month Commemorative Rally Remembers Victims of Attacks on Care Facility Residents in Japan
Quito Made History for Disability Equality, Inclusive Cities and Inclusive Society at HABITAT
USICD and MIUSA Host Vietnam Visitors
Marca Bristo, Past USICD President, Apointed to Obama Foundation Inclusion Council
USICD Board Member, Candace Cable, Selected Vice Chair of the LA 2024 Bid Team!
Article Headline
Events and Opportunities

Half of the world's children with disabilities are out of school because little money is budgeted for their inclusion, reports the International Disability and Development Consortium

India was first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, meant to end the book famine for blind readers--author Somak Ghoshal opines why this should make his country proud

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

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 October 2016:
  • 160 Signatories
  • 167 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 92 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Central African Republic ratified the convention on October 11, 2016

Netherlands ratified the convention on July 13, 2016

Comoros ratified the convention on June 16, 2016

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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