Regional Leadership Networking in Latin America

By Sue Swenson, President- Elect

In Mexico City from January 29-31, more than 20 advocates and leaders from Latin America came together to develop action plans for the region.  Most were members of Inclusion International, including several founding members, and some were prospective members who joined us to see how their organization would fit. With expert facilitation and thorough discussion, the workgroup winnowed down a very long list of potential priorities to just four modern and energetic goals:

  • inclusive education
  • self-advocacy
  • community living
  • employment.

By sharing expertise and experience, each group laid out an agenda that could be carried out in the region, and each organization made commitments to help.  Mexico’s member Confe hosted the meeting with tremendous warmth and dignity, which helped build a wonderful sense of camaraderie and commitment over three days of work.

We were amply rewarded for hard work by evening opportunities to enjoy the beautiful city.  Side meetings on the Catalyst for Inclusive Education were held when the schedule permitted, helping to advance that key work in the region.

If I may be permitted a personal reflection, it is this families including self-advocates are a powerful force for good in the world, and their power is reflected in the diligence, humor, inventiveness, and humanity they bring to their work. We all do better when we all do better.