Webinar: Connecting with Disability Communities Abroad

Rachel Garaghty, a wheelchair user, is in a classroom with 8 other people, including people with disabilities, in Tanzania.
The best part of purposeful travel is doing it with a disability.
May 28, 2021

Sometimes discussions of disability and international exchange can focus too much on the deficits, without noting that disability can also be a key to a more enhanced experience unavailable to one's nondisabled peers. There are disability communities in every country, and having a disability gives one an automatic in to these networks. As a result it can sometimes be easier for people with disabilities to integrate into their local communities. Locals with disabilities can also support in the process of adjusting to a culture with different approaches to independence, or access. 

In this webinar, a panel of exchange alumni talked about how they connected with disability communities abroad and how you can do the same.

Event Details

  • Date: May 28, 2021 
  • Time: 11 AM (Los Angeles)/2 PM (New York) 


Michelle Morris

Michelle Morris is an Engagement Analyst for Communication Service for the Deaf. Prior to this role, she has spent nearly a decade working in both academic and nonprofit institutions dedicated to increasing opportunities for underserved youth through study abroad, international programming, scholarships, second language acquisition training, and collaboration with local government in the development of their youth master planning. Michelle graduated from Gallaudet University with a B.A. in International Relations and Government and she has studied, worked, and volunteered in over 10 different countries across Europe, South and East Asia. In addition to being fluent in American Sign Language, she is also knowledgeable in the sign languages of Korea, China, Indonesia, Germany, and India—and can somewhat converse in a few of the spoken languages of those countries as well. She is passionate about increasing accessibility for people of color and people with disabilities to pursue opportunities abroad.

Emely Recinos

Emely Recinos is a recent graduate of New York University where she received her BA in International Relations with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. In 2018, she studied abroad in Argentina and was a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. While in Argentina Emely was able to expand her knowledge both on Interamerican relations and on the rights of people with disabilities in Latin America. In her senior year of college, Emely wrote her thesis on the relationship between changes in El Salvador's economy and experienced violence in the country, and was subsequently awarded the Deans Certificate of Achievement for International Relations Best Thesis. She is currently looking for full-time work opportunities and is a volunteer with the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights in New York.

Rachel Garaghty

Rachel (she/her) is a Grants Manager at ServeMinnesota, a non-profit organization that administers AmeriCorps funding across Minnesota. Prior to her work with ServeMinnesota, Rachel was a Development Officer for Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. She raised funds for Perkins’ international education programs that served children with disabilities around the world. Rachel graduated from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a master’s degree in global public policy. She studied abroad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania during graduate school, where she researched disability organizations and their work in Tanzania’s disability communities.


Justin Harford 

Justin (he/him/his) is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange by providing information and resources to both individuals with disabilities and international professionals.  Previously, Justin worked for two years in disability community organizing and policy in the foothills of Northern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin American History and Spanish Literature from University of California, Berkeley. He studied abroad at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago Chile, where he researched and wrote a thesis on the history of the blind in Chilean society. In 2008, he spent 10 weeks immersing himself in the culture and language of Michoacan, Mexico. 

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is a project of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries, and is supported in its implementation by Mobility International USA.

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