United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) Newsletter

Aug./Sept. 2017
Message from New USICD Executive Director Isabel Hodge
Woman with short brown hair and a black T-shirt with the word Hope on it The letter O in hope is shaped as the wheelchair symbol
Isabel Hodge
I am beginning my third month as the new Executive Director of USICD and I have never been busier! As a part of our Disability in Public Policy (DIPP) project, I have had productive meetings with four key Members of the House (the Co-Chairs of the Disability Caucus and the Chair and Ranking Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee) and staff representatives for six Democratic Senators. Many thanks to USICD member, Mr. Jeff Kramer, for his expert assistance on this project!
The purpose of the above meetings was to introduce them to USICD, our policy priorities and, more recently, to discuss our concerns regarding Secretary Tillerson's letter to Senator Corker where he outlined his plan to eliminate the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the Department of State.  USICD sent two letters to Secretary Tillerson this year asking him to make the Special Advisor a permanent entity within the Department. Just recently, Senator Cardin successfully included language in the State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2018 that will establish an Office of International Disability Rights. USICD fully supports the inclusion of this language and will reach out to our USICD members and networks shortly to ask for their action in contacting members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and others.
Read the rest of Isabel Hodge's Message at the link
USICD Fundraising for DPOs in the Caribbean Impacted by Hurricane Irma
USICD's Executive Director, Isabel Hodge, with members of DPI NAC
Today, I write to you because I am deeply concerned about our brethren in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma has devastated Barbuda where approximately 60 people with disabilities reside.  We are still waiting to hear from members of our sister DPI organizations in the other islands and concerned that they are now rendered homeless due to flooding and hurricane damage and have lost anything of value, such as their mobility devices. 

In Barbuda, over 90% of the buildings have been destroyed and two more storms are brewing in the Atlantic.

As the Vice President and regional council member of
Disabled Peoples International North America Caribbean (DPI NAC), USICD feels a strong responsibility to do something to help. So I write to you today to ask for your help in raising funds to assist the Disabled Peoples' Organizations in the region that have been hard hit by Hurricane Irma.

Please consider donating to USICD today! Your donations will be sent to DPI NAC and distributed to the region's disabled peoples organizations to help them purchase equipment and other medically necessary items.

Please use the designation "Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts" when making your donation. 

Thank you,
Isabel Hodge
First Global Independent Living Summit Convenes in DC

On Sunday, 23 July, independent living movement leaders from 19 countries attended the first ever Global Independent Living Summit that was held in conjunction with the National Council on Independent Living's (NCIL) Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. At the Global event, the establishment of a World Independent Living Network (WIN) was announced. Please visit NCIL's website to learn more about this important event. 
Emerging Professionals with Disabilities Blog More Insights 
Anna Custis, an intern who USICD placed at Handicap International, reflects on the lessons she learned about teamwork--and cake!--during her internship.  Yuliya Gileva, who was placed at the International Finance Corporation--the financial sector arm of the World Bank, explains why we need bridges, not walls, as a response to immigration. Janelle Lyons, placed at Women Enabled International, points out that America was founded in a way that excluded many communities--but dedicated advocates are working to change that. Jenna Shelton, who USICD placed at the International Medical Corps, discusses the importance of disability inclusion in the STEM fields and agricultural sciences.

Chuck Aoki, placed at the National Democratic Institute, considers his fears--and his rewards. Ryan O'Malley, placed at Management Sciences for Health, makes connections between classroom studies and saving lives in the real world. Anna Custis shares how she made new friends via USICD's internship program. Adeline Joshua, placed at the International Finance Corporation at the World Bank, makes her argument for why all international development students need to take disability studies. Katie Giles, placed at the World Bank, reveals how she survived a trial by fire as a rising phoenix! Yuliya Gileva wrote another blog post, this reflecting on the mentors she has had in her life and how they have made her the person she is today.

Eight people stand in the back and five sit or crouch in the front. They are in the lobby area of the building in which USICD_s office resides.
2017 cohort of USICD program interns with USICD staff and other stakeholders
For the past five years, USICD has coordinated the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program, made possible with funding support from the Mitsubishi Electric America Fund. USICD's program brings talented students and recent graduates with disabilities from across the United States to complete summer internships at internationally-oriented organizations in the DC area. Their areas of professional interest vary widely, and so do the host organizations where USICD places them. But all the program interns share in common an aspiration to careers in international development or foreign affairs. And all are exploring new identities as emerging professionals. 

For the 2017 summer program, USICD placed nine interns at seven different host organizations in the DC area--including, for the first time, three at the World Bank. All nine interns were asked to write blog posts during the summer in which they reflected upon topics of their choosing that were inspired in some manner by their experiences in USICD's Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program. Please visit USICD's blog to explore the blog posts that interns wrote over the summer. The first six intern blog posts of the summer were highlighted in the June/July 2017 issue of USICD's newsletter.

Or, explore USICD's blog via it's archives dating back to 2011. 
Commemoration for 16th Anniversary of the Events of September 11, 2001
Picture of an overcast sky over the Pentagon, which has a large US flag draped on it covering some of its upper floor windws
Photo taken during a past Memorial event
at the Pentagon in remembrance of the people who died due to the events of September 11 2001.

We will never forget.
33nd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

The Pacific Rim (PACRIM) International Conference Team invites your company or organization to participate in the Community Exhibit Halls at the 33nd Annual International Conference to be held on October 9-11, 2017. USICD will be presenting at the PACRIM International Conference this year. It is one of the largest in the country for diversity and disability and has earned the reputation as being one of the best.

For more information on registering to attend the Conference, please visit

To view the agenda click here :

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In This Issue
Message from New USICD Executive Director Isabel Hodge
USICD Fundraising for DPOs in the Caribbean Impacted by Hurricane Irma
First Global Independent Living Summit Convenes in DC
Emerging Professionals with Disabilities Blog More Insights
Commemoration for 16th Anniversary of the Events of September 11, 2001
33rd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity
Events and Opportunities
For more international disability news, events, and opportunities as they occur, 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
Marca Bristo - Past President
Glen White - Secretary
David Hutt - Treasurer

Judy Heumann               Candace Cable
Ted Mauro
Jill Houghton
Axel Leblois
Barbara LeRoy
Janet Lord
Susan Mazrui
Jerry McCloskey
Michael Brogioli
Shelia Newman
Stephanie Ortoleva
Susan Parker
Debra Perry
Neil Romano 
Eric Rosenthal
Diana Samarasan
CRPD Ratification Watch
As of September 2017:
  • 160 Signatories
  • 174 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 92 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Fiji ratified the convention on June 7, 2017

Suriname ratified the convention on March 29, 2017

Federated States of Micronesia ratified the convention on December 7, 2016

Democratic Republic of Korea ratified the convention on December 6, 2016

Samoa ratified the convention on December 2, 2016

Belarus ratified the convention on November 29, 2016

Central African Republic ratified the convention on October 11, 2016

Iceland ratified the convention on September 23, 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

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