Archives for posts with tag: disabilities


Diplomat Artist Buzz: Two years earlier, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey’s class at Montclair State University produced a video asking then what has now become the key to the answer: “Is Education a Human Right?”

80% of all people with disabilities live in a developing country & 50% of them cannot afford health care. More than 100 million disabled persons are children & children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children.

Argentine Jail Conditions Violated Rights of Prisoner with Disabilities, UN Panel Finds

Views of an 18-member UN Human Rights body which monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came after considering a complaint by a prisoner serving a life term.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities are also disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, & lack equal access to basic resources such as education, employment, healthcare & legal support systems.

Heed Call of Marginalized, End Discrimination - UN Urges on Poverty Eradication Day

UNSG Ban Ki-moon: “We need to do more to listen & act for those whose voices often go unheard – people living in poverty, & in particular among them indigenous people, older persons & those living with disabilities, the unemployed, migrants & minorities.”

ImageDiplomat Artists are those embodying an artist’s sensibilities in the world of diplomacy, art, sports, & popular culture. They are those who are inspired beyond the stage and canvas to social and global contributions. Well, how about a personable mammal diplomat artist that moves beyond the proverbial fish bowl and captures the heart, hope, and attention for millions — children, adults, and worldwide media?

July began on the East Coast and most of the United States as a heat wave. Aquarians at heart are making it out of town for the Summer to hopefully cool off and do some body surfing at the beach. Last week doing some “channel surfing” on cable channels, by accident I fell upon the movie “Dolphin Tale” which intrigued me by its title and cast: Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson. 

The story revolves around an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin who was caught in a crab trap and lost its tale, a necessity for dolphin survival. It’s rescued at a not-for-profit wildlife conservation center in Florida who goes to all steps to care and rehabilitate “Winter.” Despite the heroic efforts of its staff and a young volunteer boy and girl, unless “Winter” receives a prosthetic tale, her outcome is bleak. The center is also in dire financial straits and about to go under water, and a never-before tried dolphin prosthesis is financially prohibitive.  Cameo appearance by Sir Richard Branson as the “white knight” saves the Center.

Most inspiring about the story is its human connection. The young boy and girl set a goal to empower Winter and go to extraordinary lengths in both time, energy, and imagination to fulfill their goal to make her capable of normal activity. In short, the team — dolphin and children never give up. It’s a tear-jerker and Kleenex prerogative when a small child from Atlanta who had heard about Winter, made her mother drive all the way to see her. Coincidentally, she and Winter shared a bond. Both were missing a limb.
The movie has a happy ending and a surprise, which I hadn’t foreseen until the film’s credits. It’s a true story. Winter resides at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. She has her own website and you can follow her on TWITTER @WinterDolphin. Her website describes her: “The real Winter, who plays herself in the “Dolphin Tale” today serves as a symbol of courage, perseverance and hope to millions of people — both able and disabled — who have been touched by her remarkable story of recovery and rehabilitation.”

Happy Summer everyone — let’s made some diplomatic splash to treat mankind and animals as well as Winter does.  And yes — Winter is a female dolphin!

By, Susan Sacirbey

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The globe has over 7 billion people. Over One Billion have some form of disability. 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this year’s theme is “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.”

I would like to share a personal story that takes one to a world of empowerment from death and disability. This weekend, Ambassador Mo Sacirbey and I shared in the celebration of an individual and his mother whose story five years ago caught our attention and that of the Global Medical Relief Fund when we saw Mohammed’s tragic story on CNN. Despite losing his leg and the psychological trauma of witnessing the death of his six-year old cousin in the same explosion, Mohammed said that his goal was to become an architect so that he could rebuild schools in Iraq. Each day he “watered” his cousin’s grave.

On September 15, 2007, 12-year-old Mohammed Al Jumaili and his mother Jinan, touched down on American soil and began their journey of hope and empowerment.
Mohammed’s story doesn’t end with his prosthetic leg and the treatment he received from The Shriners Childrens Hospital in Philadelphia. His road to empowerment, through education, learning a new language, new developmental skills, and giving back to society had only begun.

On Saturday, 2 December, Mohammed was honored with Scoutings highest honor: The Eagle Court of Honor. This is a feat that goes beyond mere excellence and learning. His credentials include more than 12 clubs in school including the Key Club, Student Council, Reading Olympics, chess team, robotics, and sports; football, wrestling, tennis, volleyball and indoor soccer. He was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award and won a blue ribbon in the Reading Olympics, and is an active reporter with a column in The Abingtonian newspaper. And Hamed is yet to turn 18!

The ceremony Saturday was held to a full-house at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. As Mohammed, a Muslim, received his award and spoke graciously and eloquently in giving thanks to his mother and sponsors, we all felt humbled. Hamed has been embraced by all that is good about America — a society of openness, freedom to practice his religion, opportunity for a second chance.

Mohammed is a striking example of the worth of every individual. “Disability” is a misnomer for him and the one billion other people in the world who have been categorized as “disabled.’ These special people have other special talents and are a part of the fabric of humanity that contributes to the greater good and provides “the rest”  with their knowledge and insight.

Mohammed stands tall and strong and exemplifies this year’s theme: “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.”  Eagle Scout — you soar!

By, Susan Sacirbey

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The United Nations has many splotches on its image, but this more reflects the shared fault of national governments rather than the failing of what unites the global citizen. The UN is not as much about policy as it is about the vision that we share a common earth and indivisible future. Individuals, institutions and nations exploiting others for material benefit still is the old methodology for advancement by some, but increasingly we recognize that what benefits our neighbor and earth as a whole also will be to our gain.    

In above photo, Stevie Wonder is joined by a blinded boy named Emmanuel to celebrate UN Day this week in a concert of musical solidarity at UNHQ in New York City. The UN suffers through ineffective policy: today from UN Security Council response to Syria; over last few years failed efforts to protect the environment and curtail climate change; and last century the betrayal of Srebrenica and genocide. From human rights and the rule of law to economic inequality and hunger, the UN is frequently the fall guy. However, these failings are of the member states, particularly the most powerful and empowered that make up the United Nations more than the UN as institution.  The United Nations as a vision of what global citizenship should be and needs to be in the future is the critical perspective which we must hold out as the most worthy of goals.

Today is the start of Eid Al-Adha. As all religious holidays I would prefer to see it as shared among faiths and traditions across the earth rather than being exclusive. Sacrificing an animal in symbolic gesture of obedience to God is one form of observance, (in past also shared by Abrahamic traditions including Jews at the Second Temple). However, our willingness to sacrifice must go beyond – to that of enhancing our own intellectual capacity and effort and translating such into empathy and knowledge to share for the benefit of all, to preserve our earth, all life, and peace.

Eid Mubarek and Love to All,

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

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Opportunity for even greater symbiotic relationship between Olympic movement & United Nations –  UN noted even greater potential of both regular London Olympics & the London Paralympics. On other opportunity, there has been little success in securing the “Olympic Truce,”  a tradition from ancient games but one not observed by modern leaders during serial wars & internal conflicts.

When Muhammad Ali came to the United Nations in 1992 on behalf of Bosnia & Herzegovina & its people, it was not my first time to meet him. His latest appearance during opening of London Olympic ceremonies reminds us of the man who managed to garner respect of even haters and who evidences the complementarities of the global citizen with the American identity. –MORE–