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Igniting Imaginations in Kazakhstan

University Professor Stephen Kuusisto has traveled all over the globe, creating opportunities for children with disabilities to demonstrate their talents through inclusive arts workshops.

Steve Kuusisto with students in KazakhstanStephen Kuusisto likes to call himself a “blind poet with some razzle dazzle.” And he relishes sparking others’ imaginations to unleash their own creative flair. In May, as part of a 10-day international disability and cultural diplomacy outreach program, Kuusisto traveled to Kazakhstan to give poetry workshops to young students with disabilities. “There’s a sweet subversiveness to the imagination—you trick people into playing,” says Kuusisto, a University Professor in the department of cultural foundations of education and director of interdisciplinary programs and outreach at Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute, which seeks to advance the civic, economic and social participation of people with disabilities around the globe. “Poetry can be silly, poetry can be play, so you create a community around fun—and before long, disabled and non-disabled people are having the same fun.”

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