Susan Sygall

Susan Sygall profile picture

Susan Sygall

Mobility International USA

We are proud to induct Susan Sygall, CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA (MIUSA), into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

Susan Sygall is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international development, educational exchange and leadership programs for persons with disabilities. MIUSA’s mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. Since its founding in 1981, MIUSA has built an extensive network of over 2,300 alumni from over 110 countries.

Ms. Sygall is also recognized internationally for her work on issues related to women with disabilities.

Since 1995, Ms. Sygall has directed the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Mobility International USA to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the full range of international study, volunteer, work and research programs.

Ms. Sygall has become a much sought after consultant and speaker. She has lectured throughout the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Asia on a variety of topics related to international exchange and inclusive development, and has traveled to more than 35 countries. She has co-authored numerous publications in the area of international exchange and international development, includingBuilding Bridges: A Manual on Including People with Disabilities in International Exchange Programs. Most recently, she published a memoir, No Ordinary Days, which highlights the creation of Mobility International USA and the impact that international exchange can have on everyone, including people with disabilities.

Ms. Sygall has also received numerous awards in recognition of her passionate advocacy for disability rights. She received the “President’s Award” from Bill Clinton in 1995 for her dynamic leadership in promoting international exchange programs and international development for people with disabilities. She received the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award in 1999. In addition, Ms. Sygall received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000. This prestigious, unrestricted fellowship is awarded to a small number of talented individuals each year who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits. In 2011, Ms. Sygall was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Chapman University. Most recently, she received an Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.

Ms. Sygall earned her M.S. from the University of Oregon in 1981 and now teaches an undergraduate and graduate level course through the department of International Studies called Global Perspectives on Disability. The course utilizes a human rights paradigm to examine issues facing people with disabilities. In addition, Ms. Sygall serves on the President’s Diversity Advisory Community Council (PDACC) at the University of Oregon to carry out the university’s mission in ways that enhance access, retention, and opportunity for traditionally underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities.