AUCD executive director Andy Imparato, Liz Weintraub and Christine Liao discuss U.S. inclusive education policy with Fellows.
AUCD executive director Andy Imparato, Liz Weintraub and Christine Liao discuss U.S. inclusive education policy with Fellows.

In recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2015, President Obama stated, “The United States as long been a leading voice for the rights of persons with disabilities, and we join the international community in expressing our support for them in all they do and in recognizing them as the valuable members of society that they are. This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — landmark legislation that helps ensure the places that make up our shared national life truly belong to everyone — we also recognize that protective the rights of those with disabilities is not just an American ideal, but a cornerstone of our work to ensure human rights around the globe.”

Given the importance the United States places on embracing diversity, ending discrimination, removing barriers, and upholding the rights, dignity, and equal opportunity for all people both within the U.S. and around the world, the ADA International Fellowship Program supports the aims of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which was created to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. The ADA International Fellowship Program specifically honors the long term work of Senator Robert Dole and Senator Thomas Harkin dedicated to implementing the ADA and supporting and empowering individuals with disabilities of all ages. Senators Dole and Harkin were important bipartisan champions for disability rights over several decades in the United States Senate. They both played a key role in the passage of the ADA.

Photo:  by US Department of Education, Back to School | Emily Banks from the U.S. Department of Education shadows teacher, … | Flickr

Where to Start

Learn more about the ADA International Fellowship Program, and learn about application processes for Fellows and hosts. The timeline of program activities is included as well.

Inclusive Education

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, and children with disabilities shall not be excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education on the basis of disability. Despite global calls for action and legal frameworks for inclusion, there is still more that needs to be accomplished to protect and uphold all children and young people’s right to an inclusive quality education. The ADA International Fellowship Program was developed to highlight the importance of educating students with disabilities and creating programs, policies, and support systems to ensure inclusive learning environments.

Spring 2017 Fellows Monica Mbelle, Elizabeth Shiakamiri, Maria Omare, Martin Kavua, Goodluck Chanyika and Jackline Bartenge in Washington D.C.

Living Abroad

Professional Fellows may want to be familiar with certain aspects of life in the U.S. before taking part in the ADA International Fellowship Program, especially if they have not visited the United States before. Helpful tips, strategies, and resources are provided.