A Diverse and Socially Inclusive America Needs to Share Its Story
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”
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
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