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, and Scholarships



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 the 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.



Click the link below for Doaa Mabrouk's presentation on The Baseera Foundation, an Egyptian non-profit organization for visually impaired people, founded in 2004. Doaa is a mother who gained knowledge and experience through supporting her visually impaired son and her studies of orientation and mobility in Canada. Baseera established the first rehabilitation center for visually impaired people in Egypt, and it currently offers rehabilitation services including early intervention, integration in education, activities of daily life training, and assistive devices training. Baseera is the first and only NGO in Egypt following a fully integrated approach with visually impaired people rather than a charitable one, starting from prevention and medical support (treatment and operations), to full rehabilitation services (education and social rehab) at Baseera's center of excellence. Baseera has also recently introduced the first post graduate diploma in low vision and blindness in Egypt, in cooperation with USA’s Western Michigan University. For more information and videos about Baseera’s work, please visit our website
Passcode: G7S#%ka4 

Molemisi Kono, Rebecca Kamer, and Alex Bassan. Please visit the AER eLearning Center to view (

Ayako Matsui (

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).

 AER International Conference



The 2024 AER International Conference will be held at the Sheraton & Le Meridien Hotel Complex in Charlotte, North Carolina (555 South McDowell, Charlotte, NC 24208).

+1-704-372-4100 (Sheraton)
+1-704-372-9610 (Le Meridien)

Getting to the Hotel

Charlotte is served by Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), which is approximately 10 miles from the conference hotel.

Travelers can take taxis or ride share vehicles (i.e., Uber, Lyft) from the airport to the hotel. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Bus #5 runs from the airport to the Charlotte Transportation Center. From the Transportation Center, it’s a 15-minute walk to the hotel, or a 5- minute bus ride (Route #6).


Visa Information

Visa requirements vary by country and may change, so be sure to visit the U.S. State Department website for the latest information when planning your trip. If you need a visa, be sure to apply early.

Additional tips and information about visa requirements are available from The National Academies International Visitors Office.

Projeter Votre Voyage


La Conférence Internationale de L’AER 2024 aura lieu au complexe hôtelier Sheraton & Le Meridien à Charlotte, North Carolina (555 South McDowell, Charlotte, NC 24208).

+1-704-372-4100 (Sheraton)
+1-704-372-9610 (Le Meridien)

Pour Se Rendre à L'Hôtel

Charlotte est desservie par l'aéroport international de Charlotte Douglas (CLT), situé à environ 16 km de l'hôtel de conférence.

Les voyageurs peuvent prendre un Taxi ou un Rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.) de l'aéroport à l'hôtel. Le Bus n°5 du Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) relie l'aéroport au Charlotte Transportation Center. De là, l'hôtel se trouve à 15 minutes à pied, ou, prendrez le bus n°6 (5 min) à l'hôtel.

Voyager aux États-Unis

Informations sur les visas

Les exigences en matière de visa varient selon les pays et sont susceptibles de changer. Visitez le site Web du Département d'État des États-Unis pour obtenir les dernières informations lors de la planification de votre voyage. Si vous avez besoin d'un visa, assurez-vous de faire votre demande tôt.

Des conseils et des informations supplémentaires sur les exigences en matière de visa sont disponibles auprès du Bureau des Visiteurs Internationaux des Académies Nationales.



AER’s Global Issues Division is offering a Conference Travel Scholarship to AER members originating from areas outside of the mainland United States and Canada who are serving students with visual impairments in their region. Therefore, this travel scholarship is open to cultural and geographical locations around the world; however, it is not open to American or Canadian students working or studying in or outside of their home country.

This travel scholarship will cover the AER International Conference registration fee, a complimentary stay at the conference hotel, and a refund of up to $2000 for the roundtrip flight between the winner’s location and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).  The Travel Scholarship winner will commit to provide a reciprocal activity (to be approved by AER) to demonstrate information gained and implementation in the home country. Options include a written article in The Voice, and/or proof of presentation of a webinar or speaking engagement.

Click here to learn more and to complete the application

The deadline for the application is January 15, 2024

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.

2023 Scholarship Winners
Heba Nasser
, Egypt
Grace Amwe
, Nigeria

2022 Scholarship Winners
Alejandra Sierra Santeley, Honduras
Olani Wakjira Fufa, Ethiopia. 

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