Dan Habib of UNH's Institute on Disability Accepts New Role at the Westchester Institute for Human Development

July 15, 2021

Dan Habib, Film and Project Director, stands next to a poster of his film
Dan Habib, Film and Project Director, stands next to a poster of his film "Intelligent Lives."

Durham, NH - Dan Habib, Project Director and Filmmaker at the UNH Institute on Disability (IOD), has accepted the position of Inclusive Communities Project Director at the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) in Valhalla, NY. Habib will assume his new role on July 26.

Shortly after the premiere of his award-winning documentary, Including Samuel, Habib joined the IOD in 2008. Since then, he has produced several other nationally broadcast documentary films, including Intelligent Lives, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS, as well as a number of short films on disability-related topics. His films have been nominated for Emmy awards, screened at dozens of film festivals, translated into 17 languages, and used worldwide to support inclusive education and disability rights. Habib has also delivered a widely viewed TEDx talk titled "Disabling Segregation" on the benefits of inclusion to students with and without disabilities.

"Dan's work has touched thousands of lives around the world," says IOD Director Kelly Nye-Lengerman. "His ability to communicate powerful messages of inclusion, belonging, and strength through film are unrivaled. We are proud and thankful for the many years of partnership in working with Dan on his many films.  The message and spirit of Dan's work will continue with our friends and colleagues at WIHD, and with the UCED network."

While at the IOD, Habib served on President Barack Obama's President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities-a committee that promotes policies and initiatives that support independence and lifelong inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. In 2015, Habib received the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Humanitarian Service Award for his work promoting inclusivity for all people, including individuals living with disabilities. In addition to this honor, Habib received the 2012 Champion of Human and Civil Rights Award from the New Hampshire affiliate of the National Education Association and the 2013 Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.

"Dan's contributions to the IOD extend beyond his film and public speaking.  He is an advocate, leader, and friend to so many at the IOD and UNH.  The IOD remains excited to see Dan's continued growth and success with film and beyond," shared Kelly Nye-Lengerman.

As Inclusive Communities Project Director at WIHD, Habib will be able to expand on his well-established background in documentary filmmaking and join a broader and more diverse network of partners and advocates to advance the reach and impact of his important work. While continuing his work producing documentary films, he will be leveraging his considerable catalog of films and videos to provide professional development offerings and technical assistance.

"The IOD has been a wonderfully collaborative and supportive home for me and my work the past 13 years. I will miss working alongside my committed and kind IOD colleagues. Together we have leveraged the power of documentary film to promote the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in New Hampshire, nationally and internationally," says Habib. "I look forward to continuing that work at WIHD - a non-profit University Center on Excellence in Disability that is part of a statewide network reaching 20 million New Yorkers - including an estimated 3 million people living with disabilities. In partnership with WIHD, I plan to expand the diversity and impact of my films and amplify my educational and outreach work while extending the reach of my films nationally and internationally."

Habib and his wife, Betsy, will continue to live in Concord, New Hampshire, as will their son Samuel.

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.