Around the World: Professor Kanter’s Scholarly Travels

Professor Arlene Kanter will spend the next two semesters away from the College of Law deeply engaged in disability rights scholarship and advocacy around the world.

Her  sabbatical began in June with a number of activities in Nairobi, Kenya, including conferences on Disability and Justice and Violence against Children and lectures at Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi. 

In  August 2017, Kanter will spend a month in Israel conducting research on the impact of new legally mandated support centers for students with disabilities in Israeli universities in conjunction with a team of researchers from Haifa University.

In the fall semester, Professor Kanter will be a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. Then, in spring, she will be a prestigious Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law.

During her travels, we’ll be posting updates from Professor Kanter from these locales, and others—she also plans to fit in a speaking engagement in Melbourne, Australia, and a lecture at Kobe University in Japan!

June 12-14, 2017


Kanter’s world odyssey began on June 12 with a trip to Nairobi, Kenya. On June 14, she met alumna Milanoi Koiyiet LL.M. ’15 and women who are part of a network that Koiyet founded to raise awareness about violence against girls and women with disabilities.

Koiyiet is helping to prepare a shadow report for the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). “We also joined self-advocates as they sang their original song, titled ‘We Have Rights,’” says Kanter.

Kanter also met with alumnus William Aseka LLM '14 “and his equally extraordinary wife, Maria, who founded and runs a foundation that supports youth with disabilities.” Kanter reports that Aseka is working on his Ph.D. in Pretoria, South Africa, “but he misses Syracuse.”

June 15-16, 2017

At a June 15-16 conference in Nairobi, Kanter presented on “Inclusive Education in Kenya and Beyond,” as well as “Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities” with Milanoi Koiyiet. 

“It has been a terrific conference, with a mix of papers by academics and activists with and without disabilities from Kenya and the US. The many self-advocates here were particularly impressive,” says Kanter. “Milanoi was a huge hit. She is now a leading disability right lawyer and advocate for women with disabilities in Kenya!”

Continues Kanter, “One of the highlights of day two of the conference was a presentation by a woman who became disabled as a young adult and who is now a news producer and magazine publisher and brings
awareness to disability dignity and rights through the media. Another highlight was a man from ASU who showed a new technology that can translate sign language hand movements into written text.”

June 19, 2017

On June 19, Kanter visited Kenyatta University in Nairobi to speak on "The Inclusive University: The Right of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Kenya and Beyond." “My talk models the principles of universal design, using audio descriptions of photos and some questions and answers to actively include the audience,” explains Kanter.

“I was delighted to see Edmond Gichuru LL.M. ’16 at the talk, as well as Agnes Wanja Wanjau, who was a CAS in Disability Studies student through the School of Education.” 

While at Kenyatta University, Kanter also discussed a memorandum of agreement between the College and the university’s law program. Following her visit, she met with a group that included Gichuru, Koiyiet, and
Aseka, as well as Sung Kuk Choi LLM ’15, who is now working at the Korean Embassy in Nairobi, and a colleague planning on attending the College in 2018.

“This was the first unofficial meeting of the SUCOL Kenya Alumni Association, we joked!”

June 20-22, 2017 

Kanter’s busy schedule continued on June 20 with a two-day “consultation” conference on violence against children, a collaboration among Disability Rights International, Better Care Network, The African Child Policy Forum, and others.

The conference was opened by Kenya’s Director of Children Services Noah Sanganyi. The keynote was given by Benyam Mezmur, the immediate former chair of the UNCRC Committee of Experts and the current chair of the Committee of Experts of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

June 23, 2017

At the University of Nairobi School of Law on June 23, Kanter lectured on “The Development of Disability Rights Under Law: From Charity to Human Rights.”

Kanter’s lecture was the keynote at an event launching the special issue of the East African Law Journal. “This issue includes a review of my book The Development of Disability Rights Under International Law by William
Aseka,” says Kanter. “So proud to call William not only my friend and my former student but now a fellow legal scholar.”

June 24

Kanter returned to the United States on June 24, to spend time with family in Boston and to finish an article for Cardozo Law Review