The Institute on Disability Hosts Two International Delegations (NH UCEDD/LEND)

December 4, 2015

This Fall, the IOD hosted two delegations from the International Visitor Leadership Program at the U.S. Department of State. The delegations, one from the Middle East the other from South Korea, were visiting the United States to learn more about aging and disability-related issues.

The delegation from the Middle East arrived at the IOD on Wednesday, September 2nd. The eight participants each represented a different Middle Eastern Country and had a variety of backgrounds including medicine, the media, and academia. The purpose of the trip was to give the participants a look into federal, state, and local laws and programs intended to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); explore government and private sector funding of services and programs for persons with disabilities; discuss how various organizations, associations, and NGOs influence policy and raise awareness of disability issues through advocacy, media, and grassroots organizing; and provide professional networking opportunities that facilitate long-term dialogue among visitors and their American counterparts.

"The visit was a terrific opportunity for the IOD to share our work addressing the barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities and their families from living ordinary lives," explained Dr. Mary Schuh, Director of the National Center on Inclusive Education at the IOD. "We talked about our vision of fully inclusive and welcoming schools and communities and how we promote this vision through our various activities - research, preservice and in-service training, leadership development, policy efforts, and the use of the media."

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, five professionals from South Korea visited the IOD's Center on Aging and Community Living to learn more about their research and programs around aging in the community. The group came as a part of a program called "The Economic Implications of a Rapidly Aging Society." South Korea is facing a rapidly aging population, similar to New Hampshire, and the professionals spent four days meeting with organizations and professionals working on meeting the needs of New Hampshire's aging community. They learned more about the needs of an older population, how groups are trying to address them, and how they can translate some of this to meeting their own needs in South Korea.

"The visit was an opportunity for us to share our research on aging in place as well as the Senior Leadership Series that is designed to develop advocates and leaders in the field of aging," explains Dr. Susan Fox, Co-Director of the Center on Aging & Community Living.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State's premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Professional meetings reflect the participants' professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States. Learn more at the IVLP website.

"It was a great experience and one that I hope fosters long-term relationships with colleagues from around the world," shared Matthew Gianino, Director of Communications.