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Mobility International USA: Travel for Humanity

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-10-22 (Revised/Updated 2016-11-18) - Mobility International presents people with disabilities opportunities for travel and achieve human rights via international exchange and development. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Thomas C. Weiss at Disabled World.

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Quote: "Employment, seemingly ever an issue for people with disabilities, is something that MIUSA takes seriously in regards to their own organization."

As MIUSA Co-Founder Susan Sygall states, "I believe that all people with disabilities are members of a global family. Working together across borders is our most powerful way of effecting changes." Mobility International USA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1981; they work in four main areas through programs and services that include:

  • International Exchange Programs
  • Women, Disability and Development
  • International Development & Disability
  • National Clearinghouse on Disability & Exchange (NCDE)

MIUSA is a cross-disability organization that serves people with hearing, learning, mental health, physical, cognitive, vision, systemic, and additional forms of disabilities. From the year 1995, the organization has served as a National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE). The project is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and is managed by MIUSA for three purposes. These purposes include:

  • To increase the participation of people with disabilities in the full range of international volunteer, study, work and research
  • To present programs that advise international exchange organizations about the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • To facilitate partnerships between people with disabilities, disability-related organizations and international exchange organizations

The NCDE gives conference presentations, as well as presenting collaborative initiatives. It produces publications and provides resources, as well as information and referrals to students, volunteers, people with disabilities who are interested in international exchange opportunities, and both disability and international exchange professionals.

The international exchange programs offered through MIUSA commonly last between two and four weeks. They are held year-round in both the United States and around the world. MIUSA has worked with people with disabilities and with those who do not experience a disability in greater than eighty nations. The activities they are involved with include home-stay families, disability rights workshops, leadership seminars, team-building activities, cross-cultural learning, and courses that are challenging. People who participate develop strategies for creating change, not only within themselves, but within communities as well. Programs have been developed for everyone from youth, young adults and parents to professionals and women.

MIUSA is committed to infusing the disability perspective into international development issues. They collaborate with international agencies in order to ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunities to participate both equally and fully at every level of the development process; not only as beneficiaries, but as trainers, volunteers, policy makers, field staff and administrators. MIUSA uses world-renowned consultants, providing technical assistance to both nongovernmental and governmental organizations in order to work towards inclusive programming and policies. The people working for MIUSA offer staff training, gender planning, organization assessments, networking lists of disability-led nongovernmental organizations, as well as conference presentations. MIUSA is itself a member of InterAction, a coalition of more than one-hundred and sixty U.S. Relief, development and refugee agencies.

The human rights, empowerment, and equal opportunities of women and girls with disabilities from around the world are things that MIUSA is very much involved in. MIUSA's, 'Loud, Proud & Passionate!,' projects focus on infusing the perspectives of women with disabilities into international women's movements and development of agendas. The programs are an important move towards creation of opportunities for women with disabilities where taking integral roles in regards to the development process and empowering themselves and their communities are concerned. MIUSA members have sponsored trainings and conferences in nations around the world.

Employment, seemingly ever an issue for people with disabilities, is something that MIUSA takes seriously in regards to their own organization. Mobility International USA is indeed an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified applicants are considered for employment with MIUSA without regard for their age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. Applicants needing accommodation through the application process due to a disability will find that assistance on request. MIUSA is happy to provide the assistance needed, and no one is somehow penalized because of such a request.

Who exactly is Susan Sygall, Co-Founder of Mobility International USASusan is an internationally recognized expert on international educational exchange and leadership programs for people with disabilities, to be plain. She uses a wheelchair and has had both a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women's issues for greater than twenty-five years. Susan has co-authored a number of publications related to international exchange and development opportunities for people with disabilities; she has also produced a number of award-winning videos. She has presented many lectures throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, as well as Asia on many different subjects that are related to international exchange and disability rights. Susan has been to more than twenty-five nations.

Susan is an incredible woman, she has received many awards for her advocacy related to disability rights, to include the MacArthur Fellowship in the year 2000. She has also been awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship, a Tom and Ruth Rivers Scholarship, the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award, a Women to Watch Award, the Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Federation, and the Kellogg National Fellowship Award - one that is awarded to around forty leaders each year in America. The year 1995 found Susan receiving an award from President Clinton for her leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities as well as her mentorship of young people with disabilities and her active role throughout America and the world in empowerment of people with disabilities.

There is much more to read, learn from and discover at the MIUSA website! With the level of leadership presented by Susan Sygall and many others at MIUSA, there is ample presentation of leadership, as well as opportunity for personal and community growth through this magnificent organization.





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