Meet 2022 People’s Choice Award winner Josh Josa from USAID
The Partnership for Public Service announced on July 19 that Josh Josa of the U.S. Agency for International Development is the winner of the 2022 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® “Sammies” People’s Choice Award. The Partnership’s Jordan LaPier interviewed Josa, an inclusive education specialist, and discussed how he has leveraged U.S. resources and influence to promote educational opportunities in developing nations for children and youth with disabilities.
To learn more, watch the full video of this event on the Partnership’s YouTube.
Leading the charge on inclusive education
Josa has promoted educational opportunities in developing nations for children and youth with disabilities. His work has reached nearly 50 countries and has impacted more than 300,000 young people with disabilities.
“I am a third-generation deaf person from a deaf family, and education has always been a topic of discussion in my family,” Josa said during his interview with LaPier. “We all recognize that education is so important and how those inequities often happen for deaf people.”
“Seeing a young person getting what they should receive and seeing them create their own future, having their life open up ahead of them, gaining the skills they need to be able to learn and connect with the people around them—it’s just indescribable,” he said.
Changing curriculum and mindsets
“I think the biggest challenge is people and their mindset thinking that disability is something that needs to be fixed or altered,” Josa said. “We’re proud of who we are and we need to address ableism, prejudice, discrimination and negative thinking against people with disabilities.”
Josa is continuing to work to create more inclusive and accessible educational opportunities in developing nations. To learn more about Josa and our outstanding Sammies finalists, check out servicetoamericamedals.org. The Partnership will announce the winners of this years’ Service to America Medals in September.
Elyse Martin-Smith is an intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.