“I have found many new friends in the United States and they are lifelong friendships,” says Yasar Hayatkhan, one of 11 people from South and Central Asia selected to participate in the EMPOWER Program.
The Department of State’s EMPOWER programs supports two-way professional exchanges designed to bolster disability rights around the world. Learn more about this program here.

“I have found many new friends in the United States and they are lifelong friendships,” says Yasar Hayatkhan, one of 11 people from South and Central Asia selected to participate in the EMPOWER Program.

The Department of State’s EMPOWER programs supports two-way professional exchanges designed to bolster disability rights around the world. Learn more about this program here.

The U.S. set the gold standard when the Americans with Disabilities Act broke down barriers to equal opportunity, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Now we must export that gold standard — and we can’t do it effectively unless the we ratify the Disabilities Treaty.
John Kerry on the Disabilities Treaty, Op-Ed in USA Today, July 22, 2013
A Diverse and Socially Inclusive America Needs to Share Its Story

Wheelchair athlete, left, races along side able-bodied high school runners, April 19, 2006 in Rockville, Md. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara D. Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Diversity is our strength, and everyone, including persons with disabilities, has important contributions to make.

That was one of the overarching messages at the 10th Special Olympics 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea this month, where athletes Tae Hemsath and Henry Meece — born in South Korea with developmental disabilities — returned to their birth country as Special Olympics athletes. Tae competed as a snowshoe racer, Henry as a snowboarder.

That same message resonated today throughout a public forum, where participants at Gallaudet University came to learn about opportunities in international exchange for persons with disabilities, and for members of the deaf community.

The audience was moved by the words and experiences of speakers, including U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a former Army helicopter pilot who lost…more »

Remarks to the USAID Meeting on “From Policy to Action: Making Progress toward Disability Inclusion”

Remarks
Maria Otero
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Washington, DC
May 30, 2012


As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here today with all of you representing civil society, as well as colleagues from across the U.S. government. I am, as you’ve heard, Maria Otero, and I have the pleasure of representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today.

For Secretary Clinton, and indeed for the Obama Administration, the word “inclusion” has taken on a new focus in our foreign policy. From women’s rights, to LGBT rights, to the rights of individuals with disabilities, we recognize one vital truth: we cannot fully honor our commitment to human rights so long as any one group is left in the shadows of society. As Secretary Clinton has said, “All people everywhere have the right to live productive lives, free from discrimination and with equal access to opportunities.” MORE