|Message from the CEO|
Did you know that of all our 100 programs each year, only a few are public? That’s because private conversations promote frank dialogue and trust – both cornerstones of Citizen Diplomacy programs.Today, you get to have a peak inside three of our visiting delegations from this spring. Please enjoy. And thank you to these leading Citizen Diplomats. Programs like these are only possible because of you.
Take care, Siobhán
|Advancing Disability Rights|
“You should know that we are 50 years behind you in the Ukraine,” said autism advocate Oksana Ivanivna Kononova.More than 6% of Ukrainian
citizens live with disabilities and struggle to have access to education,
barrier-free buildings, transportation, employment and basic social services. And to access the limited disability programs means traveling far distances to government agencies for approval.During their Philadelphia visit, the delegation of emerging disability rights advocates and government
officials, first met with Citizen Diplomacy board members Gabriella Vacca and Brian Rankin and also with Fred Maahs Jr., former Comcast Foundation VP and vice chairman of Easterseals. This meeting gave our visitors a behind the scenes look at how Comcast, Fortune 500 company, created a corporate culture that values persons with disabilities as part of the
workforce and customers. Rankin shared how their policies now reach all the media properties including NBC Universal and the newly acquired Sky in Europe. Vacca spoke about the work to build an accessibility-friendly culture and products. Maahs lead a discussion on how the US law defines disability.In the true spirit of exchange, our visitors shared the best parts of their work, such a youth driven initiative for building
disability community organizations. On their second day, the delegation met with Councilman Derek Green. Green shared his passion for autism and the resources available for autistic children in Philadelphia because of government
legislation. He also talked about how he and his wife Sheila co-founded
the first autism support class at Houston Elementary School to
help children like their son. Each year, they fund raise for Autism Speaks.All over the word, disability activists are striving for equal rights.
Through international exchange, passionate change makers connect and become better prepared to promote reform. See Photos
Friday, July 12 – Dining for Diplomacy Mandela Fellows
Our amazing members are always so hospitable when opening their homes to visitors from abroad. Pictured below is board member William Daniels as he hosted two Fulbright Scholars with his family.
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Did you know? Citizen Diplomacy International carries out many programs and initiatives of Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ whose mission is to increase mutual understanding and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. In April alone, we welcomed 100 international participants from this program to Philadelphia!