37th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

Mobilize For Action!

Pre-Conference: Saturday, February 26, 2022
Main Conference: Monday, February 28 – Tuesday, March 1, 2022 (HST)

Join us in this unique moment to move forward together. Come reconnect and renew. Celebrate achievements, share lived experiences and lessons learned. As we explore innovative strategies for advocacy and activism, you are invited to weave in your voice. Together, we’ll magnify our collective power for meaningful action. Let’s mobilize!

Conference Schedule

Feb. 26

Saturday, Pre-Conference

Feb. 28

Monday, Day 1

Welcome and Keynote: Judy Heumann: 8:30am – 10am 

Poster Sessions (1): 10:00am – 10:45am

Concurrent Sessions: 1A – 1E: 11am – 11:45am

Plenary Speaker – Petra Kuppers: 12pm – 12:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 2A – 2E: 1pm – 1:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 3A – 3E: 2pm – 2:45pm

Poster Sessions (2): 3pm – 3:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 4A – 4E: 4pm – 4:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 5A – 5E: 5pm – 5:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 6A – 6E: 6pm – 6:45pm

Mar. 1

Tuesday, Day 2

Concurrent Sessions: 7A – 7E: 8am – 8:45am

Featured Speaker – Sara Minkara: 9am – 9:45am 

Concurrent Sessions: 8A – 8E: 10am – 10:45am

Concurrent Sessions: 9A – 9E: 11am – 11:45am

Concurrent Sessions: 10A – 10E: 12pm – 12:45pm

SuperFest Film Festival: 1pm – 3pm

Concurrent Sessions: 11A – 11E: 3pm – 3:45pm

Concurrent Sessions: 12A – 12E: 4pm – 4:45pm

Closing Keynote – Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: 5pm – 6pm

Featured Speakers

Judy Heumann Smiling, sitting in electric wheelchair holding two books she authored.
Judy Heumann​: Keynote Speaker
February 28, 2022, 8:30 to 10:00 am HST

A lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people, Judy Heumann has been instrumental in the development and implementation of legislation, such as Section 504, the Individuals with Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her writing includes her memoir Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist (2020). Heumann is also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. She also produces The Heumann Perspective, a podcast featuring members of the disability community. Heumann serves on a number of non-profit boards, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Humanity and Inclusion, and Human Rights Watch and is a Distinguished Fellow of Review of Disability Studies. She has 20 years of non-profit experience with disability organizations, including as a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living. Before starting the Judith Heumann LLC, she served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Smiling man with facial hair wearing a stripped polo shirt
Robert Stodden: Session Discussant

Dr. Stodden has more than 40 years of administrative, training, and research/evaluation experience in the USA and internationally. He is the founding Director and Professor of a large research and development (R & D) unit at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the Center on Disability Studies (CDS). He has been a Professor of Education for the past 35 years, working closely with foreign governments and various state departments and NGO/DPO programs. He has also served as President of several professional associations in the fields of educational evaluation and research. Dr. Stodden has served as department chairperson at UH Manoa and Coordinator of Special Needs Graduate Programs at Boston College. Dr. Stodden has served as principal investigator/director of more than 150 research and training projects spanning numerous areas of research and evaluation, exploring education outcomes and access to postsecondary education for struggling learners.  In 1997, Dr. Stodden served as a Kennedy Senior Policy Fellow with the Disability Policy Subcommittee in the United States Senate. Dr. Stodden is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) and has served as the special issue editor for numerous peer reviewed journals in the field of educational research.  He is founder of the Pacific Rim Conference and has been a keynote and invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences, and has consulted with several governments in other states as well as the Asia/Pacific Region. His work in the field of disability studies is recognized internationally in a range of different journals and publications. He currently serves on numerous association and journal editorial boards and has maintained an active presence in the fields impacting the quality of life of persons with disabilities.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner headshot at beach
Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner: Keynote Speaker
March 1, 2022, 5pm to 6pm HST

A poet and Activist, Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner is an MIT Director’s Media Lab Fellow and Obama Asia Pacific Leader Fellow. Her work brings attention to concerns about the environment and climate change as well as highlighting concerns about social justice. Her first collection of poetry, Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter (2017), is considered the first published book of poetry written by someone from the Marshall Islands. She addressed the United National Climate Summit in 2014, performing the piece, ‘Dear Matafele Peinem’. She has also been selected as a Vogue magazine Climate Warrior. She is also co-founder of the environmental nonprofit organization Jo-Jikum (Jodrikdrik in Jipan ene eo e Kutok Maroro) which supports Marshallese youth in taking action on climate change and environmental issues that affect the Marshall Islands. Her other notable work includes “Rise: From One Island to Another” (2018).

Smiling woman with gray hair, wearing glasses, a white shirt, and a green sweater
Katherine T. Ratliffe: Session Discussant

Katherine T. Ratliffe is a professor and the Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa. Her research interests include disability; parent, family and community partnerships in education; and the education of immigrant children, especially those from Pacific Islands. She teaches classes in learning, motivation and development.

Featured and Plenary Speakers

A White queer cis disabled woman of size with a bald head, black lipstick, yellow glasses, velvet top and scarf, and a broad smile.
Petra Kuppers: Plenary Speaker
February 28, 2022, 12:00 to 12:45 pm HST

Disability culture activist, writer, and community performance artist, Petra Kuppers is Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor in Performance Studies and Disability Culture at University of Michigan. Engaging in community dance and disability culture production since the late 80s, she uses ecosomatics, performance, and speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. Her Gut Botany was one of New York Public Library’s 2020 top 10 poetry books. Her new Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (2022, open access) explores disability culture perspectives on moving in diverse worlds.

Steve Brown Headshot
Steven E. Brown: Session Discussant

Historian Steven E. Brown (PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1981) is Co-Founder, Institute on Disability Culture and retired Professor of Disability Studies, Center on Disability Studies (CDS), University of Hawaii. He is an individual with a disability and family member of individuals with disabilities. In 2002, he moved to Hawaii and began working at CDS. He retired as a Full Professor and returned to the mainland in 2014, though he continued teaching online through 2019. Brown has published many articles and presented on disability rights and culture throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada; Germany; Hungary; Korea (via remote video) Japan; Norway; Saipan; Sweden; Taiwan; and Thailand. His books are Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride (2003); Surprised to be Standing: A Spiritual Journey (2011); and Ed Roberts: Wheelchair Genius (2015) for middle grade readers. He’s currently working on a book about Disability Culture.

Sara Minkara holding a long cane standing in front of American flag
Sara Minkara: Featured Speaker
March 1, 2022, 9:00 to 9:45 am HST

Internationally recognized advocate, expert, and facilitator in disability, inclusion, authentic leadership, and social entrepreneurship, Sara Minkara is newly-appointed Special Advisor for the Office of International Disability Rights in the State Department. Within the State Department, and with its international partners, she assists foreign governments and other organizations to work towards inclusion and full participation for those with disabilities. Her recognitions include Forbes 30 Under 30, the Clinton Global Initiative, MIT’s IDEAS Global Challenge, and Vital Voices “100 Women Using Their Power to Empower.” 

Photo: Dr. Patricia Morrissey
Patricia Morrissey: Session Discussant

Patricia Morrissey is the President of the US International Council on Disabilities. She  previously served as Director of the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. Before Hawaii, she served as Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in the US Department of Health and Human Services. For over 20 years she served in senior staff positions in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government and in Congress. When serving in the George W. Bush Administration, she was part of the US delegation to the UN when the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was being drafted. She has devoted her career to working with others, especially those with disabilities, to promote meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

smiling woman seated in a wheelchair in a forested setting, wearing a short sleeve blue blouse
Kara Ayers: Plenary Speaker
February 26, 2022, 12:00 to 1:00 pm HST

Kara Ayers, PhD, is Associate Director and Associate Professor at University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCCEDD). She is Director of the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities and co-founder of the Disabled Parenting Project. Ayers’ interests include disability identity/culture, healthcare equity, bioethics, community inclusion, and use of media to teach, empower, and reduce stigma. She infuses the mantra, “Nothing about us without us,” into all of her scholarly and community-based pursuits.

Smiling woman in black and white striped blouse, standing in front of a wall emblem with logo saying ‘CNMI Council on Developmental Disabilities’
Monika Diaz: Session Discussant

Monika Diaz graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Sciences. She is the current President of the Very Outspoken Individuals Can Each Succeed (VOICES), for Tinian Chapter, Vice-president for Team Koka, a current board member for the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), Consumer Advisory Council and Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) and has also served in the Special Education State Advisory Panel (SESAP). She also enjoys being a mother and helping people in her community. 


Silver-Level Sponsor

Developmental Disabilities Division

Bronze-Level Sponsors

Pac Rim and the Center on Disability Studies

About the Pac Rim Conference

The Premier International Gathering on Disability – Our 37th Year!

Hosted by the Center on Disability Studies (CDS), College of Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa since 1988, Pac Rim has evolved into an international conference that has welcomed thousands of presenters and attendees from across Hawaiʻi, the nation, and the world. 

Learn more about our virtual Pac Rim 2021 conference or view our program archive from 2018-1989

About the Center on Disability Studies

As one of 67 national University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), the Center on Disability Studies supports a national vision of inclusion. We assist thousands of people with disabilities and their families, as well as Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other underrepresented populations. We do this through research, training, and demonstration activities, and sharing our work with community members, professionals, students, and policymakers. 

Interested in Learning More?