Founders of Harvard Legislation Faculty Undertaking on Incapacity honored by the president of Ecuador

Visiting Professor Michael Ashley Stein ’88, Executive Director of the Project on Disability at Harvard Law School, and Professor William P. Alford ’77, Co-Founder of Project HPOD, were awarded the National Order of Merit by the President of Ecuador March 8 in recognition of their work about disability.

Among other things, Alford is an expert in Chinese law and legal history as well as international law. He is Director of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law and was Vice Dean of the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies for 18 years. He is a long-time member of the Special Olympics Board of Directors and has been involved with training, health and other disability issues in China and elsewhere through that organization.

As one of the world’s leading experts on disability law and policy, Stein was involved in drafting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, works with disability organizations and non-governmental organizations around the world, and consults with governments on their disability laws and guidelines and advises a number of UN bodies and national human rights institutions; and has led landmark disability rights litigation worldwide.

“Bill and I co-founded HPOD in 2004, driven by our shared desire to conduct research and advocacy that empowers more than one billion disabled people around the world, with a special focus on people with intellectual disabilities,” Stein wrote recently Tribute to Alford in the Harvard International Law Journal: “[W]We have volunteered in around forty-four countries in around forty-four countries, including increasingly at home in the United States, on a range of projects ranging from legal and policy reforms to promoting support groups for parents who care for and for their children with different people use disabilities. Our projects always involve local disabled people and their representative organizations (“DPOs”) who believe that everyone knows their own needs and priorities best and that stakeholders should be proud and responsible for each activity. HPOD adheres to the international mantra of disability rights: “Nothing about us without us”.

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