The United States International Council On Disabilities is a nonprofit, membership, constituent-led organization committed to promoting the rights of people with disabilities through global engagement and U.S. foreign affairs.
USICD aims to build bridges between American and international disability communities in hopes of celebrating a vision of a world where their rights are protected and advanced.
To ensure this vision, USICD promotes the inclusion of disability perspectives domestically and internationally on a political level—challenging U.S. foreign policy and aid through a wide range of projects and programs.
These program initiatives leverage a membership that reaches organizations and individuals in more than 30 U.S. states and a number of foreign countries.
The following program initiatives are highlighted on USICD’s website:
1. CRPD Education and Advocacy
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD, is an international disability treaty inspired by U.S. leadership that serves as a vital framework for creating global legislation that embraces the rights of all people with disabilities. USICD works to promote the CRPD both in the U.S. and abroad through this campaign.
2. Global Disability Rights Library
This project helps improve the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries by delivering information about their rights to advocates, policymakers and civil society institutions through the digital landscape. It’s a joint effort between USICD and the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project that has collected a digital repository of thousands of toolkits, best practice materials, advocacy tools and more. Everything is delivered to DPOs (organizations or groups representing persons with disabilities) in developing countries lacking Internet access via a portable hard drive that brings web-like access without Internet connection.
3. Disability in U.S. Foreign Affairs
USICD is dedicated to advocating for disability inclusion through diplomatic initiatives via the State Department, foreign assistance through USAID and through the collaborative initiatives with other government agencies. This program offers news on federal government initiatives focusing on disability inclusion and showcases the work USICD is doing to be a stronger resource to its allies.
4. Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs
USICD strives to develop the next generation of leaders through its internship program that inspires youth involvement in international affairs and development careers. Since 2013, this program has formally engaged USICD’s goal of incorporating a disability perspective in all foreign affairs issues and continues to do so.
– Chelsee Yee
Sources: USICD, Progress Illinois
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