International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Posted by Susan Rice
December 3, 2009
Ambassador Susan Rice With Stevie Wonder and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at UN

About the Author: Susan Rice is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and while the President himself gave his full support in a proclamation, I had the great pleasure and honor of accompanying Stevie Wonder at United Nations Headquarters on the occasion of his appointment as the 11th UN Messenger of Peace.

Stevie Wonder has a vision of a world in which every child can learn in their public school in the manner best for them; in which, upon graduation, they can apply for a job without fear of discrimination, and live and work independently in their communities if that's what they choose. The United States is pleased to work with the United Nations towards that goal.

Currently 650 million people—10 percent of the world's population—live with a disability. Discrimination against people with disabilities is not just simply unjust; it hinders economic development, it limits democracy, and corrodes societies. And it is holds us back from achieving a better, stronger, more equitable world.

In July of this year, I was deeply honored to be able to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights convention of the 21st century, which urges equal protection and equal benefits under the law for all citizens, which rejects discrimination in all its forms, and calls for the full participation and inclusion in society of all persons with disabilities.

This was an important first step, but great challenges lie ahead. We have far more work to do. And we must never lose sight of our vision of a better world.

I look forward to working with Stevie in the months ahead as he carries the message of peace: signed, sealed and delivered.



New York, USA
December 3, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Wonder of Wonders......

Stevie Wonder has been an inspiration to millions and an uplifting figure in the world for so many decades. We are fortunate to have him as our emissary at the UN. His sensitivities and sensibilities make him the utimate UN Peace Representative.

South Korea
December 3, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

congraturation to Stevie Wonder, get an appointment 11th UN Messenger of Peace.

-Is thought and that holds the pain of the process which overcomes the pain which is not visible a little the sympathy happens more...

Maryland, USA
December 4, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, Susan & Everyone :)

I have a good feeling about our New Messenger of Peace. The vision of a world without discrimination, is a world filled with great posibilitys, for everyone too achieve their dream.

I think Stevie Wonder is a great choice as our Representative of Peace and Equality. :)

..Nice hearing from you Ambassador Susan Rice ...Cya..:)

New Mexico, USA
December 4, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I remember the concert Stevie and Gil Scott Heron put on in Oakland, Calif. about a week after John Lennon was killed.

Stevie and Gil sang "Imagine" as an encore, and it may have been a first for Stevie because he wasn't known to do encores at his shows.

The concert became an instant memorial service, as thousands of points of light were lit in a pitch black hall, and in that moment of unity I think to a person we all felt the raw power of collective will to achive the seemingly impossible on this planet.

So I want to thank Stevie for that experience. One that has remained with me to this day and keeps me plugging away at the status quo.

The UN's made a wise choice.


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