On October 19, Ambassador Mitchell gave the closing remarks at the Immense Spectrum Myanmar Arts Festival of Disabled Artists, a three-day event in Yangon that featured performances and artwork by hundreds of disabled artists.
Ambassador Mitchell underscored the untapped potential within the community of disabled persons to support Myanmar’s transition toward a democratic, peaceful and prosperous society.
“The United States took some time to fully embrace the notion of disability rights. In 1990, we passed a landmark law called the Americans with Disabilities Act to address that idea, and affirm once and for all the dignity and right of equal opportunity for all those with disabilities. And now there is a new era emerging here in Myanmar, where you are considering what type of country this “new Myanmar” will be. Clearly your country’s strength will depend on whether you can find unity in your diversity — your full diversity — embracing everybody and maximizing their potential to contribute to the future of the country. It is those countries who indeed embrace rather than fear that diversity that succeed. They recognize they must not waste or overlook any individual in the development of their country” – Ambassador Mitchell.
The festival was organized by the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative.