In February, MIUSA joined high school exchange students currently in the United States on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program in Washington, DC, for the Civic Education Workshop (CEW).
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At the annual meeting of the Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, MIUSA joined representatives of international exchange organizations to discuss trends and best practices in sponsored youth programs, including the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) and Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) programs.
MIUSA conducted a one-day arrival orientation in New York, NY, on January 20, 2017, for two high school exchange students with disabilities from Malaysia selected to participate in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The students joined eleven academic-year YES students with disabilities already living and studying in host communities across the United States.
In late November 2016, a RightsNow! team of U.S. disability experts traveled to Lima, Peru to meet with disability leaders, other leaders of civil society organizations, and government representatives. The RightsNow! team gathered information to analyze the status of implementation and enforcement of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) and national legal frameworks safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities, while identifying topics for future support to promote the enforcement of national disability laws.
The benefits of learning a foreign language have been well documented. It leads to greater employability and cultural competence. It can also enhance one's ability to learn in all sorts of areas.
Learning a language can offer unique advantages to people with disabilities as well, such as enabling a blind person to experience a destination through the verbal descriptions of folks they meet along the way, or facilitating the independence of a wheelchair user as they direct the assistance of others.
We had a full room of attendees on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 10:30 - 11:45 am to discuss growing trends in education abroad to attract a greater number and diversity of students, including those with disabilities. These trends focus on making education abroad interesting, and of interest to, traditionally underrepresented groups, and by targeting these diverse groups and including faculty/staff in the planning, it results in more participation.
While students may have established academic accommodations at their U.S. institutions, when they choose to study abroad they also choose to accept the challenge of studying in a new educational system that may or may not offer the same accommodations.
This NAFSA: Association of International Educators sponsored Collegial Conversation was a live chat on November 10, 2016, to respond to questions from the field on what is required and possible in making arrangements for U.S. study abroad students with learning disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
It is a story that we see often. An exchange program gets a student with a disability asking about wheelchair access, ASL interpreters, or personal assistance, the program is just weeks out and the staff are caught like deer in the headlights scurrying around to make it work.
In October 2016, RightsNow! representatives traveled to Guatemala to meet with disability rights leaders and other key stakeholders in order to learn about the status of and priorities for greater enforcement of disability rights. Working in close collaboration with Colectivo Vida Independiente de Guatemala, a local cross-disability Disabled People's Organization (DPO), the RightsNow! team met with a range of stakeholders within the disability sector.
The UN CRPD is a powerful tool for implementing law and policy for women with disabilities at the regional, national, and international levels. It is nevertheless true that many women with disabilities, States Parties, and even NGOs lack the experience and resources for developing and implementing relevant articles of the UN CRPD into concrete action.