Global Perspectives on Independent Living at NCIL

Disability rights advocates from diverse countries visit an independent living center in the U.S.
The Independent Living movement may have its roots in the United States, but it is rapidly growing as a global collaboration among Independent Living advocates of all backgrounds and nationalities.
July 24, 2017 - July 27, 2017

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) called on the disability community - from the U.S. and around the world - to attend its 2017 annual conference in Washington, D.C., centered around the theme "Revolution: A Global Independent Living Movement."

Since its inception, Mobility International USA has upheld international exchange between the U.S. and other countries as a means to advance the status of people with disabilities around the world. MIUSA was thrilled to attend NCIL and support its efforts to create a global focus at the 2017 conference through the following events:

International Exchange Exhibit Table

From going abroad to hosting international visitors to working in international careers and more, participating in international exchange and citizen diplomacy opportunities can have a positive impact on a person’s employability, independent living skills, confidence, leadership, and other personal qualities. Find out how to launch your international career and the careers of the clients you serve.

Attendees were invited to stop by the table sponsored and staffed by members of the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange Roundtable Consortium. These are organizations that provide or promote international exchange opportunities and want to promote their visibility among the disability community.

Sponsors of the exhibit table included:

  • Mobility International USA
  • World Learning/School for International Training (SIT)
  • IIE; and
  • The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Staff from these organizations were on hand to share accessible materials about their international programs and to answer questions.

Global IL Summit

In 2017, NCIL invited delegates with expertise in international Independent Living and disability rights to attend a special one-day Global IL Summit on July 23, just prior to the Annual Conference. There, delegates explored international issues impact the growth of the Independent Living Movement around the world.


MIUSA co-presented the workshop, “What the World Needs Now – U.S. CIL Leaders Share Global IL Movement Perspective from International Exchange." Part of the conference's International Track, this workshop highlighted examples of how Centers for Independent Living are emerging throughout the world, from Japan to Nepal to Costa Rica, and how this is ushering in a new world of activism within the global disability community. The four presenters came from different parts of the U.S. and have visited different countries and cultures utilizing the same IL philosophy. They were:

  • Marca Bristo, Access Living
  • Julie Espinoza, REACH of Plano Center for Independent Living
  • Sheri Burns, Silicon Valley Independent Living Center
  • Susan Sygall, Mobility International USA

Learn more about NCIL's 2017 Annual Conference here.

Event location: 

Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C.