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Global Initiative on Disability Featured

Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014

The Colleges' Global Initiative on Disability (GID), launched earlier this semester, was featured in an article in the Finger Lakes Times this month.

"I think disabled individuals, people with disabilities, are people that are often sort of ignored or not seen as one of the more pressing disadvantaged groups, but I really think it's an issue that, both globally and locally, more attention should be paid to," the article quotes Helen McCabe, associate professor of education who is the director of the GID.

The article explains the initiative will focus its early work on China, where McCabe has conducted research and teacher training since 1992, as well as Ethiopia, where staff member Solome Rose was born.

President Mark D. Gearan is quoted about the importance of the initiative and fit with the Colleges.

"I think it combines many things here," he is quoted. "Obviously, the Colleges have a long history and commitment to global education: 60 percent of our students study around the world, many of them led by our faculty. ... Secondly, we're very fortunate to have some our faculty who are really leading the school in the field of research on disability globally. Professor Helen McCabe in particular has a distinguished history, [along with] Solome Rose."

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Global Initiative on Disability (GID) was launched in January 2014 with the goal of increasing awareness and action surrounding disability across the world.
The full article follows.

The photo above features Helen McCabe, director of the GID and associate professor of education, and Solomé Rose, a member of the GID staff and the first Global and Community Leadership Fellow at the Centennial Center for Leadership.


Finger Lakes Times
HWS embraces new initiative

Jim Miller • March 9, 2014

GENEVA - The director of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' new Global Initiative on Disability hopes it will get local residents thinking about the issue.

"I think disabled individuals, people with disabilities, are people that are often sort of ignored or not seen as one of the more pressing disadvantaged groups, but I really think it's an issue that, both globally and locally, more attention should be paid to," said Helen McCabe, an associate professor of education and affiliated faculty in Asian studies at the Colleges.

McCabe helped nurture the idea in January. She said it grew out of conversations with HWS Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata.

"We kind of together came to this idea of having an initiative," she said. "Part of it is that HWS is very international and has a lot of international programs, and it also has a big focus on service."

Although the Initiative is only months old, it is already living up to its name. Much of its early work will happen in China, where McCabe began volunteering with autistic children in 1992 and subsequently trained teachers there.

"I know about China, and also we have a lot of contacts there," she said, "so we sort of know what the needs are, and we know the questions to ask. ... Services for people with disabilities are not as developed in the U.S. What I mean by that is sort of education, employment."

McCabe hopes to take HWS students to China in 2015 to volunteer at an orphanage. The Initiative may also develop ties to Ethiopia because a staff member, Solome Rose, was born there.

Locally, films about disability issues in China will be shown at the Colleges this year and in 2015.

HWS President Mark Gearan said the Initiative felt like a worthy mission for HWS, as well as a good fit and an area where it could make a real contribution.

"I think it combines many things here," he said. "Obviously, the Colleges have a long history and commitment to global education: 60 percent of our students study around the world, many of them led by our faculty. ... Secondly, we're very fortunate to have some our faculty who are really leading the school in the field of research on disability globally. Professor Helen McCabe in particular has a distinguished history, [along with] Solome Rose."

The Initiative already has brought its first speaker to campus. The second will discuss HIV and AIDS in the developing world April 2. In June, a professor from Ethiopia will visit.

"We are committed to conducting research and programming only when we have a solid understanding of the country and culture in which we are working," Rose said in a press release. "Given the immense need for disability services in developing countries, our work will primarily serve communities residing in the Global South. Though our work is currently primarily focused on autism, through strategic collaborations and a needs-based assessment [we] will work to address and tackle other forms of disability, including physical, intellectual or psychological conditions."

 


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