Global Resource Center on Inclusive Education Passes $1 Million in Funding
ICI's Global Resource Center on Inclusive Education (GRC) has reached a milestone: more than $1 million in funding for its inclusive education work in seven countries on three continents for the first time since the center began in 2008. "This new level of funding speaks to GRC's impact and the sustainability of exporting ICI's expertise to other countries, while also bringing home to Minnesota some of the lessons we've learned abroad," says GRC researcher Brian Abery.
GRC's mission is to build relationships and capacities in respective countries for adapting and implementing effective strategies for children and youth with disabilities to be successfully included in regular schools and classrooms. Facilitating learning together with their peers has also been shown to foster a sense of belonging and friendships in their communities.Three of the GRC's current projects include:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Anniversary International Fellowship Program in Inclusive Education conducted with partners overseas in Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine; along with mentoring organizations in Minnesota and Arizona. This project provides 28 young professionals from the four countries with experience in inclusive education and community inclusion in the U.S. This fall, 15 mentors from Minnesota and Arizona, traveled to their mentees' countries to learn about their inclusion successes and challenges and to share their expertise with local schools, nongovernmental organizations, and universities. The hosting organizations include The Arc Minnesota (whose Executive Director, Don Lavin, is pictured at front right at a conference in India as part of his mentorship), Osseo Area Schools, Minnesota Department Education, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, and the University of Minnesota. The project is funded by a 18-month, $500,000 grant/contract from the U.S. Department of State.
Enhancing the Inclusion of Children and Youth with Disabilities in Armenia, which partners GRC with Armenian State Pedagogical University. The project team are finalizing the first volume of a textbook on inclusive education practices for Armenia. This project is funded by a 2.5-year, $184,000 grant/contract from UNICEF-Armenia.
U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Project: Developing Systems to Support the Employment and Community Inclusion of Young Adults with Disabilities, which partners GRC with the Social Innovation Fund in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The project, which is gearing up to welcome its Russian partners in January 2018 for their activities' planning meeting in Minnesota, is funded by a 1-year, $100,000 grant/contract from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
"Sharing experiences and expertise in inclusive education internationally is rewarding work that has the potential to benefit not only our colleagues from other countries, but also significantly enrich approaches to our work with children and youth with disabilities in the U.S.," says GRC director Renáta Tichá.