On December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we join the world in celebrating the global disability community. But for MIUSA, our mission and work to advance leadership and disability rights globally® energizes us every day.
MIUSA's impact spans so many different spaces. We're providing disability inclusion consultation to international exchange providers, international development organizations, and foundations. We're also building pathways for people with disabilities in all parts of the world to share their expertise and leadership:
In Armenia, alumni of our Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) supported the launch of two new independent living centers.
MIUSA also sent a delegation of U.S. disability rights leaders to Armenia to share lessons learned with Armenian colleagues.
WILD women from over 20 countries gathered virtually to share updates on their plans to empower the next generation of disabled women leaders.
And in South Korea, still another WILD alum spoke about building leadership pathways for people with disabilities through international exchange.
Countless other disabled people have advanced in their leadership through international exchange, as illustrated in a new online journal amplifying the diverse voices of who we are and how we are changing the world.
We want to thank and acknowledge disability rights activists and allies of all genders, from all countries, for the work that we have accomplished and for the work that still needs to be done to create a more just and equitable world.
With much gratitude,
Please donate to MIUSA to support programs that make a real difference in the lives of disabled people worldwide!
In honor of October's National Disability Employment Awareness Month, MAKERS compiled a list of "10 Powerful Women Who Have Triumphed By Embracing their Disabilities," featured on Yahoo.com. Susan Sygall was honored to be among the disabled women athletes, actors, and fellow activists - ranging from Tammy Duckworth to Marlee Matlin to Temple Grandin and more - who are changing the world for the better and who take pride in their disability identity. As the article quotes Susan:
“Now looking back on it, the disability was not a tragedy; it’s the life of people with disabilities and not having opportunities that is really the tragedy.”
Above photo: Agate President and WILD alum Karine Grigoryan and USAID Mission Director John Allelo cut the ribbon during Agate ILRC’s opening ceremony for their new building on November 4, 2022. Photo courtesy of Agate.
November was an eventful month for MIUSA’s Leading for Independent Living project in Armenia. During this month, MIUSA led a team of U.S. legal and independent living experts to Armenia, where they met with disability leaders and policy makers, and joined in ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate two newly renovated, fully accessible Independent Living Resource Centers (ILRCs) – the first of their kind in Armenia. MIUSA’s partners, Agate and EREO, are both organizations headed by alumni of MIUSA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD).
Agate and EREO are changing the landscape of what independent living means in Armenia. Through these two disability-led and consumer-driven centers, they have been providing opportunities for peer-led, rights-based services to consumers of all ages with all types of disabilities, and advocating for policy change that will further build the independent living movement in Armenia.
The mission of the project is to empower people with disabilities in Armenia to live independently, advocate for their rights, and participate fully in their communities. This article is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of MIUSA, and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
A Virtual Reunion for Women of the 10th WILD
Photo: The women who participated in the in-person WILD program (pictured above in the front two rows, wearing purple t-shirts) represent only about half of the 2022 cohort of WILD women, which also included delegates who participated in virtual activities only.
Earlier this month, alumni of MIUSA’s 10th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) gathered together virtually to reconnect and share their accomplishments related to bettering the lives of disabled women globally.
Representing 2021 Virtual WILD alumni and 2022 WILD alumni, alumni located in 20+ countries across various time zones had the opportunity to share the work they have been doing since completing either Virtual WILD in October 2021 or in-person WILD in June 2022. In breakout rooms, WILD alumni shared plans for in-country WILD trainings, workshops for women with disabilities in their communities, and connections they have made with international development organizations as a result of the Gender, Disability, and Development Institute (GDDI).
It was exciting to learn the ways in which alumni will soon host their own WILD trainings, from a recent two-day training in India focused on women's health and mental well-being to an upcoming workshop in Zimbabwe that will bring together disabled women from rural areas. But wherever in the world they are, it's so powerful to see disabled women coming together and infusing that energy into making change in their communities!
Above, left: Miyeon presents at the 2022 CIEE annual conference in Seoul. Right: Miyeon and MIUSA staff Ashley Holben take in the 360-degree views of Seoul from Namsan Tower.
MIUSA alum Miyeon Kim has a dream for the "daughters with disabilities": "That they can enjoy all their fundamental freedoms."
With these hopeful words, Miyeon addressed attendees of CIEE's annual conference on study abroad, which was recently held in Miyeon's city of Seoul, South Korea. MIUSA staff had the privilege to collaborate with Miyeon on a session about the impact of international exchange on the leadership potential of people with disabilities. It wasn't your typical study abroad session, but Miyeon's story illustrated the connections between intercultural exchange, peace and social justice.
As a young woman with a disability, Miyeon traveled from South Korea to Eugene, Oregon for MIUSA's first-ever Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) program in 1997! Since then, she has been active as a champion for the rights of disabled women not only in Korea, notably as the President of the Women with Disabilities Arts and Cultural Network, but also internationally, most recently serving as Vice-Chair on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities!
Miyeon's accomplishments are extensive, and she has been recognized as a "Gold Star" alum of the U.S. State Department-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which brought her back to the United States in 2013 to share and build upon her expertise in disability and gender rights activism.
MIUSA looks forward to future opportunities to collaborate with Miyeon as she continues to realize her dream for daughters with disabilities!
People with Disabilities Expand the Definition of International Exchange
Because international exchange is much, much more than study abroad, the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) presents a new issue of its A World Awaits You series highlighting the world of Experiential Exchanges!
In this issue, you'll meet seven world travelers: A guitarist taking his passion for music access around the world; college students interning with the Deaf community in the Dominican Republic and entrepreneurs in South Africa; a Peace Corps Response volunteer supporting education in Belize; and citizen diplomats from Colombia, Lebanon and South Africa advancing their leadership through volunteer, professional, and sports exchange programs in the U.S.
The common thread in these stories is that through open-mindedness and creativity, individuals with all kinds of disabilities can meaningfully and safely experience the world.
Wondering what to give that special someone for the holidays? Whether they have a passion for social justice, travel, or food, surprise them with one or both of MIUSA's signature publications:
Rights and Recipes: Food that Fuels Global Women Activists
Rights and Recipes is perhaps one of the first cookbooks created by disabled women activists, who are breaking down preconceived barriers of what is possible and making transformational changes in their communities and their countries. Purchase the cookbook for $19.95 plus shipping. Sales support MIUSA’s disabled women leadership programs.
Brilliant and Resilient: Celebrating the Power of Disabled Women Activists
Through beautiful portrait photography and vignettes, this book recognizes the leadership and outstanding accomplishments of 50 disabled women activists from 41 countries who are confronting discrimination and working tirelessly to improve the lives of women and girls with disabilities across the globe.
Purchase for $29.95 plus shipping. Sales support MIUSA’s disabled women leadership programs.
The opportunities below are NOT administered by MIUSA, but we believe they may be of interest to our readers, especially to people with disabilities. Please contact the organization directly for more information. Remember to visit MIUSA's LinkedIn page for ongoing announcements and postings!
Featured Job Openings with EDDI Members
Browse job and internship opportunities with members of MIUSA's Excellence in Development and Disability Inclusion (EDDI) initiative. Find some recent U.S.-based positions below, then visit the links to each organization's job page for application details. Most organizations post positions in the U.S. as well as locations around the world, so check their websites directly for even more opportunities!
ADRA | Marketing Intern or Legal Intern in Silver Spring, MD
Chemonics | Family Planning and Reproductive Health Integrated Supply Chain Manager - Remote position
ChildFund International | Advisor, Early Childhood Development - Remote position
CORE Group | Manager - Advocacy Communications for the RAISE 4 Sahel Project in Washington, DC or remote
Global Communities | Program Associate, Americas in San Diego, CA
Humentum | No current positions listed
IYF | Director, Global Finance and Administration Management in Baltimore, MD or remote
Oxfam | Donor Relations Coordinator in Boston, MA
Savethe Children US | Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation - Remote position
SolidarityCenter | Grant Writer/Editor for Africa in Washington, DC; Plus new field positions in Mexico City, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Trickle Up | Accounting Manager in New York, NY
WEEMA | No current positions listed
Women for Women International | Associate Director, Financial Systems & Management Reporting in Washington D.C.
World Learning | Seasonal Operations Coordinator, Youth Exchange - Remote position