Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika: Susan Sygall

Personally, I've been unbelievably fortunate. Amazing things have happened in my life that have allowed me to do work that I'm passionate about and that has made an impact."

— Susan Sygall

Susan Sygall is an internationally recognized expert in leadership programs and international educational exchange for persons with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on women. From her wheelchair, Susan inspires people to achieve more than they–and society–thought possible. She has changed the lives of countless women, often in the most isolated parts of the world. She cofounded Disabled Women's Coalition, the Berkeley Outreach Recreation Program, and Mobility International USA, where she serves as executive director.

Susan was studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, on a Rotary International scholarship, when two thoughts occurred to her: first, that the international exchange was a life-changing event, and second that people with disabilities were usually not part of such programs. She knew that she had the power to change things. While completing her master's degree in therapeutic recreation at the University of Oregon, she cofounded Mobility International USA (Miusa). Miusa first hosted an international work camp to build an accessible trail system and camp outside Eugene, Oregon. Today, 24 years later, the organization has worked with 80 countries and has provided exchange programs for more than 2000 people with disabilities. Miusa has hosted exchange programs with Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, England, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and others. When Susan tackles a project, boundaries disappear. Her spirit of adventure has taken her backpacking through Europe and Israel, hitchhiking through New Zealand, and riding local buses through Mexico, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Thailand. The special focus of her passion is women with disabilities; she cofounded The Disabled Women's Coalition and spearheaded the 1995 International Symposium on Women with Disabilities in Beijing, the 1997 Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability, and the 1998 International Symposium on Microcredit for Women with Disabilities. Everyone benefits when people with disabilities are empowered. The beneficiaries of Susan's work include government officials, teachers, youth, families, and policy makers.

Mobility International USA (Miusa) National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchanges Disabled Women's Coalition