Disability Rights Activist Judith E. Heumann to visit University on Tuesday

October 28, 2014

By  (Syracuse University News)

Judith E. Heumann

Judith E. Heumann, the special advisor for international disability rights at the U.S. Department of State, will visit Syracuse University on Tuesday, Oct. 28. Heumann will participate in a discussion titled "Inclusion of People with Disabilities Around the Globe Through Law and Education." She will discuss the role of disability in U.S. international diplomacy development work through a question-and-answer format, co-moderated by Syracuse University Professor of Law, Arlene Kanter, and School of Education doctoral student Brent Elder.

The event will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. in 352 Dineen Hall. Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided, courtesy of the SU Office of Disability Services. The event is free and open to the public.

Heumann’s visit is the result of a University-wide collaboration and is co-sponsored by the College of Law's Disability Law and Policy Program, Disability Law Society, LL.M. Program, Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee, School of Education’s Dean’s Office and  Department of Teaching and Leadership, Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, SU Disability Cultural Center, Burton Blatt Institute and SU Abroad.

"Members of our university community have a unique opportunity to learn from Ms. Heumann's diverse professional and personal experiences in disability rights and education, both domestically and internationally, and see how change is made at all levels from grassroots to the White House to the United Nations. Syracuse University is honored to welcome her back," says Katherine Vroman, special education doctoral student and president of the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee.

Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate. Before being appointed special advisor for international disability rights at the U.S. Department of State, she previously served as the director for the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, where she was responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

From June 2002-2006, Heumann served as the World Bank's first adviser on disability and development. In this position, Heumann led the World Bank's disability work to expand the bank’s knowledge and capability to work with governments and civil society on including disability in the bank discussions with client countries; its country-based analytical work; and support for improving policies, programs and projects that allow people with disabilities around the world to live and work in the economic and social mainstream of their communities.

From 1993-2001, Heumann served in the Clinton Administration as the assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. Heumann was responsible for the implementation of legislation at the national level for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living, serving more than 8 million youth and adults with disabilities.