AHEAD in Collaboration with the University of Arizona Partners with U.S. Department of State to Bolster Disability Rights in Ukraine

AHEAD in collaboration with the University of Arizona has been selected to participate in a U.S. Department of State sponsored Professional Fellows EMPOWER Program, administered by Mobility International USA (MIUSA). This two-way international exchange program aims to expand the capacity of organizations in the U.S. and abroad to promote inclusive communities and advance the rights of persons with disabilities around the world.

AHEAD in collaboration with the University of Arizona has partnered with two Ukraine-based organizations, Lugansk Regional Social Organization for the Young Disabled and Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University, to implement a long-term project to support the inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing students in postsecondary education.

In September 2013, AHEAD will send Carol Funckes, Associate Director of Disability Resources and Sue Kroeger, Director of Disability Resources from the University of Arizona, to Ukraine for a preliminary exchange visit to gain an understanding of disability and inclusion in Ukrainian communities and to lay the foundation for an effective ongoing international relationship.

Lugansk Regional Social Organization for the Young Disabled and Volodymyr Dahl East-Ukrainian National University will then be hosted by MIUSA, Oct. 13–19, 2013, and at the University of Arizona, Oct. 19 - 29, 2013, where they will work alongside American counterparts to gain first-hand experience on how issues in their field are addressed in the United States.

AHEAD in collaboration with the University of Arizona is one of 20 U.S.-based organizations and institutions competitively selected to host approximately 40 disability rights advocates and leaders from 40 international organizations in 20 different countries. Projects range from inclusive education, independent living, healthcare rights, laws and policy, recreation and sports, access to public services, and advocacy for all persons with disabilities. Learn more about the projects here.

At the conclusion of the U.S. program, all overseas participants and their U.S. hosts will gather in Washington, D.C., for a three day conference facilitated by MIUSA, Oct. 29- Nov.2. Participants will have the opportunity to network with other leaders in their field, and share plans for long-term programming that will be implemented upon their return home.