On 23-24 May, the Embassy of Afghanistan, the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) (a Harkin Summit plannning committee member), the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, and Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development partnered to hold a disability rights conference on at Georgetown University and at the USICD. His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Hamdullah Mohib and his spouse, Mrs. Lael Mohib, welcomed participants. Mrs. Mohib attended the 2016 Harkin Summit. Dr. Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics introduced Senator Tom Harkin (ret.) who provided keynote remarks and spoke about the history of some key disability legislation in the United States in which he co-sponsored and supporter.
The Afghanistan Disability Rights Conference: From Policy to Programming was a follow-up to the first National Conference on Disability Rights convened by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential palace in October, 2016. Under President Ghani, the Afghan government has made disability rights a national priority. The conference, focused on practical approaches for making inclusive education, inclusive public healthcare, and vocational training and employment opportunities a reality for Afghan citizens living with disabilities. Also during the first day of the event, prominent Afghan and international disability rights advocates participated in panels and responded to questions from the audience. In the afternoon, participants attended breakout sessions on the three topic areas to discuss big ideas and reconvened later to share the outcomes of their discussions. On the second day of the conference, USICD hosted the Afghan delegates for a Knowledge Sharing Workshop where they had the opportunity to speak with American experts leading U.S. disability organizations. The event concluded with participants sharing their personal take-aways from the two-day conference.