Rehabilitation International Marks its First 100 Years and the Next Century to Come

7 January 2022

Rehabilitation International (RI) is excited to announce that the 100thAnniversary Celebration will be held on December 3rd, 2022, in Beijing, China.  

The 100th anniversary is a remarkable milestone for RI that grew from its small-town roots in the American Midwest in 1922 to an internationally prominent organization in the past century. Generations of successors of RI members have been making consistent efforts to offer expertise and solutions aimed at providing people with disabilities the chance to lead full and productive lives. 

RI has been an important force in advancing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities globally. RI and its members work to protect the rights of people with disabilities, including ensuring access to and improvement of crucial services for persons with disabilities and their families. RI also promotes collaboration among stakeholders and advocates in order to build strong policies and legislation to identify and remove barriers such as physical, communication, and attitudinal, that hamper individuals’ ability to have full participation in society on the international, regional, and national levels. 

RI members and RI leadership have been key players in various important disability-rights movements throughout history. Some notable events include: 

  • Petitioning the League of Nations to establish an office to oversee the collection of disability-related statistics in 1929 
  • Sowing the seeds for the international paralympic game in Italy in 1960 on the strength of the 5th RI World Congress in 1951
  • Creating the original International Symbol of Access in 1969, which is regarded as one of the five most recognized signs in the world today
  • Setting down a list of policies to govern the use of the International Symbol of Access in 1978 
  • Participating continuously for in the formulation and implementation of World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons and promoting the Year of the Disability of UN in 1982
  • Adopting the Beijing Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities in the New Millennium together with Inclusion International, Disabled People’s International, World Blind Union and World Federation of the Deaf in 2000.
  • Promoting the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 

With the same values that have sustained our organization for the past century, Rehabilitation International is leading into the future with a continued focus on rights and inclusion for persons with disabilities globally.   

Hereby, members of the RI family as well as colleagues who are engaged in disability-related affairs or care for persons with disabilities are cordially invited to attend the celebration that will take place on December 3rd, 2022, in Beijing, China to review the past century and witness the opening of a new era of RI. 

About Rehabilitation International:  

Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI) is a worldwide organization comprised of people with disabilities, service providers, government agencies, academics, researchers, and advocates working to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. With member organizations in more than 100 countries and in all regions of the world, RI also provides a forum for the exchange of experience and information on research and practice. 

To learn more about the 100 years of Rehabilitation International and the work that have built the organization, visit RI website:  

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