On December 3, 2013, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) launched Lives Without Limits, a campaign to promote the importance of including persons with disabilities in international exchange programs. President Obama has made disability rights a core part of U.S. foreign policy. Within ECA, this means continuing our work to make all programs inclusive and accessible.
The Lives Without Limits campaign provides a platform for ECA partners, disability advocates, alumni and participants with disabilities to share their vision for a life without boundaries. It includes a webpage featuring a series of video interviews with exchange program alumni with disabilities, and it invites visitors to share their own stories and experiences on social media, using the hashtag #WithoutLimits.
A few of our exchange alumni have already shared their experiences. For Sri from Indonesia, “Living #WithoutLimits means that I can do daily activities, I can get a job, and go everywhere by myself.” For Ikhwan from Kenya, international exchange, “gave me my very first bike ride, my first time on a roller coaster” and “helped me improve my confidence.” Pilar from Argentina shared that “Living #WithoutLimits to me is to empower each other to speak up.” Visit our Lives Without Limits webpage to hear from all our participants who have already shared their stories.
This year, as we mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we are emphasizing the ways that international exchanges help remove barriers and create opportunities.
Please be part of the conversation and post what working toward an inclusive community and living #WithoutLimits means to you.
Join us on social media using the hashtag: #WithoutLimits.
I look forward to hearing from you!
About the Author: Evan Ryan serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
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