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First USICD President’s Blog

January 1, 2015

White woman with short, blond hair wearing a white blouse, pearl necklace, and black suit jacket smiles at cameraby Dr. Patricia Morrissey

Patricia Morrissey is President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.  She has played a central role in drafting major federal disability legislation and she was a member of the U.S. Delegation to a United Nations Committee while it drafted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

Happy New Year!

Many of us spent a great deal of time in 2013 and 2014 trying to secure the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Senate. The relationships we built and the efforts we made are valuable and need to be sustained. Don’t lose touch with those with whom you worked in the past two years.

I see 2015 as a rebuilding year in several respects. First, because the composition of the Senate has changed and Republicans are now in charge, we have an opportunity to build new relationships and find new partners. We can and should do that. Second, we need to expand and strengthen USICD’s financial base. To do that, we should start with the membership. For those who are members I have three questions:

  1. What do you value about your membership and what things would you like to see added as membership benefits?
  2. What initiatives would you like us to pursue as an organization and what role would you like to have as a partner?
  3. What ideas do you have for expanding our membership?

On point #3, I have an idea. It came as the result of talking to a friend. She recently visited London. While there, she learned that the mayor of London has recently made a public commitment to make London fully accessible. Why not offer this gentleman a complementary membership in USICD? We could launch a worldwide campaign to find more elected officials who are doing similar things and find ways to recognize them. Over time, since dues must be paid annually, we could find ourselves with a cadre of elected officials from far away places, who are willing to renew their memberships. Going further, we could reach out to NGOs in other countries and invite them to be members of USICD.

These are simple, direct ways to grow our reach and recruit new partners. It is critical that we invest in efforts that increase our visibility in the international community in the areas of disability policy and rights. We offer others a way to connect and we, in turn, have a way to learn from others.

Please give some thought to my questions and send us your comments. The year 2015 is going to be an exciting one for all of us.

Pat Morrissey


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