Advancing disability rights and leadership globally¬ģ

Team & Staff

We are incredibly proud of the team of experts with and without disabilities that make MIUSA a powerful organization and an invigorating place to work.

Executive Leaders

Susan Sygall
As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities.

As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities. Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women’s issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications and has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange opportunities for persons with disabilities, women’s empowerment, and disability rights.

Susan has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2013, she became an Ashoka Senior Fellow and received recognition of her work in 2011 by being awarded the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Matusak Courageous Leadership Award and receiving an honorary doctorate from Chapman University and the University of Portland. In 2000, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. In 1995, Sygall received the President’s Award from President Bill Clinton for her dynamic leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities, for her mentorship of young people with disabilities, and for her active role throughout our country and the world in empowering people with disabilities. Sygall has also been honored with the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award. She was also awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship and the Kellogg National Fellowship.

Cindy Lewis
Cindy is the Director of Programs at Mobility International USA and a senior staff with more than 20 years of experience at MIUSA. She is the co‚ÄĎauthor and producer of numerous books and videos. Cindy spearheaded the International Symposium on Women with Disabilities at the

Cindy is the Director of Programs at Mobility International USA and a senior staff with more than 20 years of experience at MIUSA. She is the co‚ÄĎauthor and producer of numerous books and videos. Cindy spearheaded the International Symposium on Women with Disabilities at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, and co-created MIUSA‚Äôs signature program, the Women‚Äôs Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). She brings expertise in project management, writing, and international development; and is widely recognized as an expert on gender, development, and disability inclusion. Cindy holds a master‚Äôs degree and is conversational in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL)

Susan Sygall

As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities.

Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women’s issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications and has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange opportunities for persons with disabilities, women’s empowerment, and disability rights.

Susan has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2013, she became an Ashoka Senior Fellow and received recognition of her work in 2011 by being awarded the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Matusak Courageous Leadership Award and receiving an honorary doctorate from Chapman University and the University of Portland. In 2000, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. In 1995, Sygall received the President’s Award from President Bill Clinton for her dynamic leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities, for her mentorship of young people with disabilities, and for her active role throughout our country and the world in empowering people with disabilities. Sygall has also been honored with the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award. She was also awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship and the Kellogg National Fellowship.

Cindy Lewis

Cindy is the Director of Programs at Mobility International USA and a senior staff with more than 20 years of experience at MIUSA. She is the co‚ÄĎauthor and producer of numerous books and videos. Cindy spearheaded the International Symposium on Women with Disabilities at the

UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, and co-created MIUSA’s signature program, the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). She brings expertise in project management, writing, and international development; and is widely recognized as an expert on gender, development, and disability inclusion.¬†Cindy holds a master‚Äôs degree and is conversational in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL)

Program Managers

Susan Dunn
Susan is a Program Manager for Mobility International USA’s exchange and development programs. She has conducted international training and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and has authored several articles on topics such as women with disabilities

Susan is a Program Manager for Mobility International USA’s exchange and development programs. She has conducted international training and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and has authored several articles on topics such as women with disabilities and leadership, inclusive international development, and inclusive emergency response. She regularly co-teaches the University of Oregon course, Global Perspectives on Disability. She also coordinates MIUSA’s Gender, Disability and Development Institute, which brings together senior level representatives from humanitarian/development agencies and women with disabilities from throughout the world. Susan currently serves as President of the Zonta Club of Eugene, an international service organization dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide. She holds an M.A. in International Development from the University of Oregon, with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Laurie Laird
Laurie is the Program Manager with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA, which aims to increase participation of people with disabilities in inclusive international exchange programs.

Laurie Laird is a Program Manager with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA, which aims to increase participation of people with disabilities in inclusive international exchange programs. She has lived experience with a disability, and her career includes positions in higher education, philanthropy, and non-profit management, with a focus on advancing human rights and social justice as the constant thread in her work. She has managed programs at the Global Fund for Women, Santa Clara University, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, and the University of Portland and endeavored to ensure opportunities and support for the participation of people with disabilities. Laurie’s personal experience in international exchange took her to Ecuador where she studied and served as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. Since then, she has traveled extensively for work and pleasure, often on the tandem bike she rides with her partner. Laurie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Lydia Shula
Lydia is a Senior Manager and has managed multiple projects in disability advocacy and inclusion during her time with MIUSA.  She is an expert in cross-disability inclusion and has managed USAID and U.S. Department of State-sponsored technical assistance projects, working with local Disabled People’s Organizations

Lydia is a Senior Manager and has managed multiple projects in disability advocacy and inclusion during her time with MIUSA.¬† She is an expert in cross-disability inclusion and has managed USAID and U.S. Department of State-sponsored technical assistance projects, working with local Disabled People‚Äôs Organizations in Armenia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and Vietnam to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of disability rights legislation and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). She has also managed exchange programs for professionals, youth, and women with disabilities, and led delegations on outbound programs to Bahrain, Costa Rica, Jordan, and Spain. From 2006 ‚Äď 2013 she organized MIUSA‚Äôs signature international Women‚Äôs Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) programs, which brings together grassroots women leaders with disabilities from around the world. Lydia has a degree in International Studies: Comparative Community Development from the University of Oregon. Born in the U.S., she grew up in Rotorua, New Zealand and studied in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Susan Dunn

Susan is a Program Manager for Mobility International USA’s exchange and development programs. She has conducted international training and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and has authored several articles on topics such as women with disabilities

and leadership, inclusive international development, and inclusive emergency response. She regularly co-teaches the University of Oregon course, Global Perspectives on Disability. She also coordinates MIUSA’s Gender, Disability and Development Institute, which brings together senior level representatives from humanitarian/development agencies and women with disabilities from throughout the world. Susan currently serves as President of the Zonta Club of Eugene, an international service organization dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide. She holds an M.A. in International Development from the University of Oregon, with a focus on gender equality and women‚Äôs empowerment.

Monica Malhotra

Monica Malhotra is a Program Manager with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA, which aims to increase participation of people with disabilities in inclusive international exchange programs. 

Previously, Monica worked for 10 years at The University of Texas at Austin, where she assisted with admission, immigration, student counseling, and sponsored student programs as the Senior International Student Coordinator for ESL Services and as International Student Advisor at the International Office. Her past experience includes serving four years on the board for the Multicultural Refugee Coalition and interning with the EastWest institute in New York. Monica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington and her Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Exeter, UK.

Lydia Shula

Lydia is Project Manager for MIUSA’s RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project, working with a U.S. consortium of partners and stakeholders in Armenia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam to strengthen the

implementation and enforcement of disability rights legislation and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Lydia is an expert in cross-disability inclusion and has managed U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange programs for professionals, youth, and women with disabilities, and led delegations on outbound programs to Bahrain, Costa Rica, Jordan, and Spain. From 2006 – 2013 she also organized MIUSA’s signature international Women‚Äôs Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) programs, which brought together grassroots women leaders with disabilities from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. Lydia has an International Studies: Comparative Community Development degree from the University of Oregon. Born in the U.S., she grew up in Rotorua, New Zealand and studied in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Program Managers

Ashley Holben

Ashley serves as the Executive Specialist to the CEO and is a Project Specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she works with MIUSA’s CEO to carry out special projects and also develops initiatives and resources

to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. As a Rotary Group Study Exchange participant, Ashley visited disability organizations and alumni in Malaysia to learn about the country’s disability rights issues and movements. Ashley graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in International Studies and Economics with a focus in International Comparative Development and Africa, which led her to intern with a non-profit organization in Dakar, Senegal.

Program Staff

Ashley Holben
Ashley serves as the Executive Specialist to the CEO and is a Project Specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she works with MIUSA’s CEO to carry out special projects and also develops initiatives and resources

Ashley serves as the Executive Specialist to the CEO and is a Project Specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she works with MIUSA’s CEO to carry out special projects and also develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. As a Rotary Group Study Exchange participant, Ashley visited disability organizations and alumni in Malaysia to learn about the country’s disability rights issues and movements. Ashley graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in International Studies and Economics with a focus in International Comparative Development and Africa, which led her to intern with a non-profit organization in Dakar, Senegal.

Justin Harford
Justin (he/him/his) is a Program Specialist 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

Justin (he/him/his) is a Program Specialist 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 higher education 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.

Jessica Bansen
As a wheelchair-riding Program Specialist at MIUSA, Jessica’s primary role is to support international students with diverse disabilities before, during, and after their exchange year in the U.S. as part of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs. 

As a wheelchair-riding Program Specialist at MIUSA, Jessica’s primary role is to support international students with diverse disabilities before, during, and after their exchange year in the U.S. as part of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs.  Prior to joining MIUSA, Jessica was a public school teacher who worked with special education students with various disabilities and support needs. Her passion for international travel and exchange began in college with a study abroad program in England and France. In addition, Jessica’s family has hosted 5 international exchange students from a variety of different countries.

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.

Johileny Mer√°n

Johileny is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange. As an intern with the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD),

¬†Johileny worked at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency response and preparedness. A Dominican immigrant and native Spanish speaker, Johileny has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Public Health with a minor in Disability Studies from New York University (NYU), having been motivated to pursue an international disability rights career after experiencing ‚Äúaccessibility shock‚ÄĚ during a visit to her home country.¬† She studied abroad at NYU London, England as a Global Equity Fellow, where she was tasked with improving resources for diversity, equity and inclusion.¬† Based on this experience, Johileny created a ‚ÄúLondon Access Culture Guide ” to inform students with disabilities how access in London compared to NYC. Johileny enjoys adaptive sports like indoor rock climbing, scuba diving, sled (ice) hockey and writing poetry.

MIUSA is also supported by additional administrative and
program staff, consultants, and interns.

Contact Us

Be our Next Featured Traveler!

May we include your travel photos on MIUSA's website and/or print publications? Please upload one to five high-quality photos that depict you during your international exchange. Maximum file size 2 MB per photo. Candid or action-oriented (i.e. unposed) photos are preferred, and uploading both horizontally oriented and vertically oriented photos is helpful. If you would prefer that MIUSA select photos from your public online photo album, please share the album link in the "Travel Links" field. Files must be less than 2 MB. Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png.

Advancing disability rights and leadership globally¬ģ

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