US-Egypt Study Tour Program

George Kerscher, Keynote speaker, on September 11 at 4:30-5:30

Audience listens to George Kerscher's keynote speech in the University Center Theater.
(Audience listens to George Kerscher's keynote speech in the University Center Theater.) 

Publishing and Worldwide Access for Students with Disabilities in Universities. 

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George Kerscher is an international leader in the field of digital technology and accessibility. As part of the US-Egypt Study Tour Program, Kerscher gave a keynote address on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 4:30-5:30 pm in the University Center Theater

Kerscher's presentation entitled, "Publishing and Worldwide Access for Students with Disabilities in Universities" addressed EPUB, copyright laws, the Marrakesh Treaty, and the importance of digital accessibility.

Kerscher is Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Consortium and Senior Advisor for Global Literacy program by Benetech that operates the world’s largest online library for accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) that has developed EPUB standard for interchange and distribution of digital publications. He has also served as Chair of the Steering Council of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative.

US-Egypt Study Tour at UM Campus, September 10-15, 2019

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and Disability Services for Students at the University of Montana, along with the University of Colorado, Boulder, hosted 18 higher education professionals from five Egyptian universities, including officials from the Egyptian Ministry of Education, for a 10-day day study tour.

The purpose of the tour was to strengthen the capacity of Egyptian university staff to administer newly established Disability Support Centers and ensure equal access to higher education for students with disabilities at their universities. From September 10-20, 2019, participants traveled to Missoula, MT, and Boulder, CO, for interactive trainings and presentations.

The US-Egypt study tour was organized with AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organization engaged in international education and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa, and USAID as part of enhanced activities within Egypt to improve equality for people with disabilities. In 2018, Egyptian public universities received additional funding to establish Disability Support Centers to meet the needs of students with disabilities within higher education institutions and to promote equal access. 

The study tour provided Egyptian higher education professionals an opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding of university policies related to people with disabilities, the role and activities of disability support services offices, practices for how to promote inclusion for people with disabilities, and strategies to address common issues and barriers for students with disabilities on university campuses. 

Specifically, the study tour provided interactive trainings and presentations on different models for university administrative structures and policy, independent living and self-advocacy curriculums, disability assessments, assistive technology accommodations, and inclusive walking audit tours.

Participants visited the University of Montana in Missoula, MT from September 10-15; they then traveled to the University of Colorado, Boulder for a parallel site visit from September 15-20.