Transnational Representation: Canada and the Founding of Disabled Peoples’ International, 1981

Human-dictated audio of this page.

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Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) is a worldwide non-profit organization that serves as the voice of disabled people, a focal point for self-representation, and an advocate for the human right of all people to live without physical or social barriers. This exhibit will explore how, in 1981, the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada (MCCC) became pivotal to the founding of DPI and to the rise of disability rights in Canada.

In addition to much-needed funding, the MCCC provided contacts and credibility as an established charitable organization and, most importantly, a sustained support for talented individuals. Based on participant interviews and archival research at the Mennonite Heritage Archives in Winnipeg, this paper outlines the MCCC’s role in the at-times unlikely success of the first DPI World Congress in Singapore.

Carleton University Disability Research Group. Research, interview, text, and design by Dr. Ryan Patterson. Kindly supported by the "MCC at 100" research grant scheme and the Carleton University Disability Research Group.

The research for this exhibit led to a published article:

Patterson, Ryan, “Transnational Representation: Mennonite Central Committee Canada and the founding of Disabled Peoples’ International, 1981” Journal of Mennonite Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2022), pp. 207-223.

Transnational Representation Title Page