The U.S. Embassy has organized a series of events during the month of February as part of the “Lives Without Limits” campaign of the U.S. State Department, which highlights the American core values of diversity and inclusiveness.
From February 24 through 26th, the U.S. Embassy will host Candace Cable, a nine-time Paralympian with eight gold medals and the winner of six Boston marathons. After suffering a spinal cord injury at the age of 21, Ms. Cable transformed her relationship with athletics. Through her own struggle she became an outstanding advocate and educator for disability issues. During her stay, Ms. Cable will meet with Armenian officials, community leaders, educators, and disability activists.
On February 25, Ambassador Heffern will open “Lives Without Limits,” an art exhibition that features the work of Armenian artists, including artists with disabilities. A Paros Choir performance will be part of the opening event. The exhibit is organized in partnership with the Center for Contemporary and Experimental Art, which promotes a life without limits – the triumph over perceptions often imposed by society. The exhibit demonstrates how people with disabilities can be fully integrated into everyday activities that many of us take for granted. The exhibition will continue for two weeks and is open to the public.
On February 26, Ambassador Heffern will open the premiere of “Girl on the Moon,” an original dance performance that demonstrates how the disabled can be fully integrated into everyday activities that many of us take for granted. The work of Arina Araratyan, a talented Armenian choreographer, the performance blends professional dancers and disabled amateurs on the stage at the Sundukyan National Academic Theater in Yerevan. “Girl on the Moon” will be shown on February 27 as well. The performances are open to the public and free of charge.
On February 12, Ambassador Heffern visited the Children’s RehabilitationCenter and ResourceCenter in Gavar. Through the support of USAID and the Peace Corps, the resource center trains and supports parents whose children are mentally or physically disabled. “Armenian children are able to stay at home instead of live in institutions, because of services like this,” said the Ambassador.
The aforementioned activities have been organized with the hope that subsequent discussion and reflection will help lead to a more inclusive, diverse and, therefore, stronger society that not only values the contributions of citizens with disabilities, but embraces their unique abilities.