International Services and Global Issues Division (Division 18)

Welcome to the AER International Services & Global Issues Division!

AER members are invited to connect with colleagues from around the globe by joining the newly established AER International Services & Global Issues Division.

Learn more about the Leadership, Our Mission, the Global Speakers Series, Scholarships, and the Global Contacts List.



Your AER International Services & Global Issues Division Board:

Katie Ericson, Chair
Dr. Callie Brusegaard, Chair-Elect
Janet Cloaninger, Secretary
Dr. Belinda Rudinger, Past-Chair

Contact us at: [email protected]
For more information: Facebook Twitter


The AER International Services and Global Issues Division exists to raise awareness and facilitate engagement of AER members in services, trends, and issues affecting people who are visually impaired in a global context.

  • Engage with other vision professionals who are working to help individuals who are blind and visually impaired to achieve the highest level of independence and success.
  • Exchange strategies, techniques, and approaches to delivering services.
  • Disseminate and receive information about the progress of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment.
  • Be a part of a group aimed at ensuring that individuals who are blind and visually impaired have their needs raised to the highest levels.
  • Engage in collaborative professional development to promote excellence in the field worldwide.



Global Issues Speaker Series: Global Issues Speaker Series: Ben Clare

Click here for Ben Clare’s presentation — exploring his journey from growing up as a blind student in Australia to traveling the world, working with amazing students with vision impairment, their families, and teachers in a range of countries and challenging environments.

The presentation highlights the various barriers and challenges faced and overcome, memorable events that took place and the ongoing impact of the work, and what this has meant for the many students Ben has taught.

Ben also spoke about how assistive technology is assisting students with vision impairment to achieve and become active members of society.

Learning objectives:

  • Tips and tricks for working with students with vision impairment in resource poor environments
  • How to formulate inclusive education policy that is relevant to developing countries
  • Implementing projects that are sustainable and have the best possible chance of ongoing positive impact
  • Suggest ways interested individuals and/or organizations can get involved in the foreign aid sector and inclusive education strategies abroad

Global Issues Speaker Series:
Sofia Pantel del Cueto, Abre Tus Ojos, Puerto Rico

On April 20, 2021, Sofia Pantel del Cueto, a visually impaired activist for the disability community in Puerto Rico, provided our Division with an amazing webinar. Click here: to:

  • Learn, from a first-hand account, some of the strengths and challenges of people with visual impairments in Puerto Rico.
  • Explore the difference in services provided in some states versus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  • Learn about some of the organizations serving people with visual impairments in Puerto Rico.
  • Open Q&A with the speaker on her personal and professional experiences as a blind young woman advocating for disability rights in Puerto Rico’s third sector.


Please click below to listen to an interview of a woman with a visual impairment in Italy, as she describes her experience with COVID 19.

Ada, 46, lives in Rome, Italy. She has glaucoma and is a long white cane user. She enjoys sailing and playing blind baseball (not to be confused with beep baseball).





Each year, two scholarships of $1000 are awarded to students outside of the mainland United States and Canada who are obtaining post-secondary education to serve students with visual impairments in their region. The next round of scholarships will be offered in 2024.

Our application is available in EnglishSpanish, and French.


Please contact Katie Ericson, Division Chair, at [email protected] with any questions.


2021 Scholarship Winners
Siomiris Albarran-Afanador, Puerto Rico
Adonis Ovbigie, Nigeria

2020 Scholarship Winners
Isaiah Anaeze Makam, Nigeria
Tracey Joubert, South Africa

2019 Scholarship Winner
Innocent Igba, Nigeria



The Global Contacts list is ever-expanding! If you have a suggestion for an individual or organization that would serve as a helpful contact for their region, please contact Kevin McCormack at [email protected]