Armenian Delegations Visit MN UCEDD

June 12, 2017

Two delegations from Armenia visited the Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD) in April as part of a project funded by UNICEF Armenia focusing on inclusive education. The collaborative project between ICI and Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) is titled, Enhancing the Inclusion of Children and Youth with Disabilities in Armenia: University of Minnesota/Armenian State Pedagogical University Partnership. The nine visitors spent two weeks in Minnesota, meeting with Renáta Tichá and Brian Abery, who are ICI's co-directors on the project, and visiting other sites related to inclusive education. "Self-advocacy and advocacy for people with disabilities were two important concepts the delegations wanted to learn about and to explore with ICI colleagues and with self-advocates," says Tichá. The delegations included Karine Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of Education of Armenia; Mher Melik-Bakhshyan, the Pro-rector of Special Education at Armenian State Pedagogical University; as well as additional ASPU faculty and several education officers from UNICEF Armenia.

The trip exposed the visitors to different inclusive environments and practices for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. They visited sites around the Twin Cities, including the Minnesota Department of Education, Fraser School, White Bear Lake Public Schools, LDA Minnesota, Simon Technology Center, and Shirley Moore Lab School (pictured) at the University of Minnesota. During their visits, the teams discussed ways of adapting and adopting different inclusive practices to Armenian schools and in the teacher preparation program at ASPU.