Conferences & Symposia

Disability and Citizenship: Global and Local Perspectives

Disability and Citizenship: Global and Local Perspectives

This conference will explore the ways in which contemporary notions of disability are linked to concepts of citizenship and belonging. Leaders in advocacy, education, medicine, and politics will consider how ideas of community at the local, national, and international levels affect the understanding of and policies related to disability—and how this has manifested itself, in particular, in higher education.

The Radcliffe Institute is in the second year of a two-year exploration of the broad theme of local, national, and international citizenship through a series of public and private programs, fellowships, special collections, and exhibitions. In 2017–2018, we featured conferences on citizenship and gender and on citizenship and health care; panel discussions about indigenous rights, religious minorities, and refugees; lectures on the use of big data and on poetry in America; and private events on transgender remembrance, noise pollution, urban space, women’s votes, human rights, and accessible technology in the developing world, among many other topics.

Free and open to the public.

CART closed captioning and ASL interpretation will be available for those in attendance.

The program agenda will be available in braille.


The Knafel Center is fully accessible. The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study encourages persons with disabilities to participate in our programs. If you have questions about accommodations or the physical access provided, please contact the events department at 617-496-1084 or in advance of your visit.


9 AM


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean, Radcliffe Institute; Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; professor of history, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Introductory Remarks

  • Cheri A. Blauwet, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Michael Ashley Stein, executive director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and visiting professor of law, Harvard Law School
9:15 AM

Keynote Conversation


  • Thomas Hehir, Silvana and Christopher Pascucci Professor of Practice in Learning Differences, Harvard Graduate School of Education
10 AM

Global Perspectives on Citizenship

  • Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo, global disability advisor, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, World Bank
  • Ari Ne’eman, chief executive officer,; cofounder, Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Maria Town, director, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, City of Houston

Moderator: Cheri Blauwet

11:15 AM


11:45 AM

Higher Education

  • Lisa I. Iezzoni, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; director, Mongan Institute Health Policy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital 
  • Andrew J. Imparato, executive director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Gopal Mitra, program specialist on children with disabilities, Disability Section, UNICEF

Moderator: Michael Stein

1 PM

Closing Remarks

Judith E. Heumann

With thanks from Cheri Blauwet and Michael Stein