International Day of Persons with Disabilities: A Day of Gratitude to the Change-Makers

A group of women including Susan Sygall hold hands before a colorful mural
Susan Sygall (front row, second from left) with other disabled women activists at a 2016 conference in Brazil.
Susan Sygall, CEO of Mobility International USA, thanks those who are working to advance disability justice and shares MIUSA's vision for building on their work.

On behalf of everyone at Mobility International USA, I want to wish all of our alumni, allies, supporters and disability rights activists everywhere a heartfelt thank you for all the work that each of you is doing to advance the disability rights movement.

It is an honor to be the CEO of MIUSA, whose mission is to advance disability rights and leadership globally so that people with disabilities can take their rightful place in society. We envision that people with disabilities are not only productive citizens, but also leaders of their communities in their countries.

I am proud of the 35 years that MIUSA has worked on these issues by increasing the number of people with disabilities in all types of educational exchange and by working with our partners and allies to ensure that international development and humanitarian services and policies are inclusive.

We also realize that there is so much more to do and there are many challenges that face us, but we are confident that, in working together, we will continue to achieve milestones in our mission.

This year especially, I have been very fortunate to meet the many disabled women activists throughout the world who are doing so much to promote gender equity and ensure that disabled women and girls are, again, not only included, but are leaders in their communities. A special thank you to our 220 leaders from over 80 countries who have participated in our Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD).

We hope that each of you will explore the resources on this website to see how you or your organization can work with us to ensure that the pipeline of leaders with disabilities will continue to widen. We believe that, by participating in a wide variety of international exchange programs, people with disabilities can build their global competency and knowledge about disability rights and inclusion.

I also encourage you to learn more about best practices that are occurring around the world to ensure that disability laws and policies are truly being implemented by visiting globaldisabilityrightsnow.org. As I write this, our RightsNow! team is in Peru working with disability rights activists, government officials, and civil society leaders.

I hope that this day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities Day, will be not only a day of celebration and commitment to work even harder and stronger in the future, but also a day of gratitude to all who have already done so much to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and promote disability justice.

Susan Sygall

CEO, Mobility International USA