As part of the U.S. Embassy’s ongoing efforts to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Mongolia, U.S. Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt hosted a reception at the American Cultural and Information Center to commemorate the 23rd International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme of this year’s International Day was “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.” To open the reception, a singer and a morin-khuur artist from Mongolian National Federation of the Blind performed a folk song.
In Ambassador Galt’s opening remarks, she emphasized, “By encouraging an active citizenry and ensuring the right to participate in public life to everyone, Mongolia empowers its entire population to contribute to Mongolia’s development.” Director of Development of Persons with Disabilities Division of the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection Batdulam and Director of the Mongolian National Federation of Disabled Persons Organizations Oyunbaatar also gave keynote speeches. Oyunbaatar also introduced an advocacy video that they have created through the Americans with Disabilities Act 25, a small grant program sponsored by the Embassy this summer to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At the reception, the Embassy showcased 10 paintings by students with disabilities from the Anima Art Design School. Established in memory of the renowned Mongolian painter Yadamsuren, Anima began enrolling students with disabilities since 1997. Currently Anima has 60 students, out of which 19 have disabilities. Many of the displayed artworks expressed feelings like exasperation and isolation. Anima school director Bulgan explained it, “By displaying their frustration and anxiety through their artworks, our students lose their stress and become strong and healthy. I always tell my students that there are never bad topics to paint, but you must always find the right approach.”
The artworks remained on public display at the American Cultural and Information Center (ACIC) on December 4, 2015.