Friday, May 28, 2010

Judith Heumann to join U.S. State Department as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights

From David Morrissey, Executive Director, United States International Council on Disabilities:

Judith Heumann (pictured), an international leader in the disability rights movement and a governmental representative to the USICD Board of Directors, will be joining the U.S. Department of State as their Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.

This position was announced last summer, when President Obama and Secretary Clinton declared that the United States would sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Heumann resigned her position as Director of the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, and will assume her new position at the Department of State on June 7, 2010.

"This is a significant step forward to the U.S. government's capacity to include disability in our foreign policy. The knowledge Judy will bring to the State Department will be invaluable to international development programs, U.S. ratification of the CRPD, and our country's approach to international engagement," says USICD President Marca Bristo. "As longtime colleagues and friends of Judy, the USICD Board of Directors is elated with her appointment and we wish her all the best in her new role."

Previously, Heumann was the Advisor on Disability and Development for the World Bank from 2002 - 2006, and served as President Clinton's Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services from 1993 -2001. She was a cofounder of the World Institute on Disability in Oakland, California, and served there from 1982 -1993. She was also a cofounder of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, serving as their Deputy Director from 1975 - 1981.

In March 2010, prior to her appointment to the State Department, the Minnesota-based nonprofit Courage Center announced that they will grant Heumann the 2010 Medtronic National Courage Award this September. Heumann was selected for the 2010 award in acknowledgment of her lifelong advocacy on behalf of children and adults with disabilities. Heumann was the first recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award in 1990.