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Volume 6, Issue 2

December 2012

Building Capacity of Deaf Leaders in the Philippines:

DDW Receives U.S. Department of State Grant

DDW and PFD members celebrate the conclusion of a recent organizational development training. In a proclamation on Dec. 2, 2011, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, U.S. President Barack Obama stated that the United States was placing “disability rights at the heart of our nation’s foreign policy.” To support this objective and raise public awareness regarding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) launched a series of new grant programs under EMPOWER. These one-time grants support two-way professional exchanges designed to bolster disability rights in more than 20 countries. The four EMPOWER grants, awarded to Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW), Global Deaf Connection (GDC), Mobility International USA (MIUSA), and American Councils (AC), will bring an estimated 75 foreign professionals to the United States for onemonth fellowships, and send approximately 57 American professionals abroad to participate in reciprocal programming. The design and implementation of the EMPOWER programs has been undertaken in cooperation with ECA’s Professional Fellows Division and the Office of the Secretary’s Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.

DDW will engage a diverse team of leaders from various sectors of the U.S. and Philippines’ signing Deaf communities to advance these communities’ self-determination through local capacity building. The exchange will bring 10 Filipinos to Rochester, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., for three weeks in May 2013, and will send 10 Americans to the Philippines for three weeks in November 2013. While in the United States, Filipino participants will meet a diverse pool of professionals from places like the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Syracuse University College of Law, and Gallaudet University to explore disability issues from cultural, geographic, political and educational point of views. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from experts in leadership, strategic planning, fund development, bookkeeping, disability law, and organizational development. Throughout the program, participants will engage in group work and discussion, applying their experience to developing a training manual on organizational sustainability. American participants will travel to the Philippines to collect data and gain a better understanding of disability rights issues there. They will visit institutions such as the Philippine Federation of the Deaf, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, and the Philippine Deaf Resource Center to meet with activists in the Filipino Deaf community. The knowledge they gain will be shared with their Filipino counterparts and the Department of State for assessment. DDW will then facilitate as American and Filipino participants develop an acDecember 2012 1

Filipino Deaf leaders participate in a DDW-facilitated leadership training.

tion plan for attaining resources to address identified areas of need. Embodying the values held by the UNCRPD and World Federation of the Deaf, DDW seeks to advance an understanding of Deaf education, policy, advocacy, culture, organizational development, community

outreach and human rights for all Filipino and American participants. A heavy emphasis will be placed on strengthening the capacity of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) and its 18 member organizations, specifically related to topics such as the UNCRPD, Filipino government regulations, governance, administration, and other management skills. Ultimately, the goal is to prepare Filipino participants to pass on their skills and knowledge to current and emerging leaders, ensuring succession and sustainability within the local leadership pool. Please note the content of this article does not reflect the opinion of the U.S. Department of State, the United States, or its officers or employees. For more information on this program, please contact David Justice, Co-Founder/International Programs Director, at or visit www.

Did You Know? The U.S. Department of State •

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The Department of State was first signed into law by President George Washington on July 27, 1789, as the Department of Foreign Affairs, and was the first federal agency to be created under the new U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was the first U.S. Secretary of State. Today, the U.S. Secretary of State is Hillary Clinton. The Department is responsible for promoting peace and stability in areas of vital interest to America, and helping developing nations establish stable economic environments. The Department’s employees, foreign service officers and specialists, civil service professionals and foreign service nationals work at over 265 locations overseas and throughout the United States.

Joseph Neale & Marcy Oppenheimer 2

Discovering Deaf Worlds

Support Natural Sign Language in Argentina, the Phillipines and the U.S.! This is a very exciting time for natural sign languages throughout the world. Deaf leaders and their allies in Argentina, the Philippines, and the United States are lobbying their governments for recognition of their respective sign languages. Official recognition of natural sign languages is a crucial step towards access to education and human rights as recognized under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To accomplish recognition of natural sign languages would be an incredible breakthrough for Deaf communities in these countries and around the globe. Show support by signing the following petitions: Argentine Sign Language

The Filipino Deaf community shows its support for the FSL bill. Filipino Sign Language American Sign Language

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky— all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. – Cesare Pavese

Welcome, New DDW Board Member! Name: Donalda Kay Ammons Originally From: Washington, D.C. Occupation: Professor Emerita, Gallaudet University Relevant Experience: Served in various positions for Deaflympics for 30-plus years, and was its first female president. Directed Gallaudet’s Center for Global Education as well as the Foreign Study Program, organizing travel abroad programs for students in 17 countries. Also taught Spanish in the Dept. of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Has conducted workshops relating to secDonalda Kay ond language acquisition, learning strategies by deaf students, human rights for Ammons deaf people, deaf sports, and political and educational leadership in numerous countries around the world. Places Traveled: More than 50 countries Hobbies: Traveling and watching sports I’m excited to work with DDW because... we share the same ideals and principles leading to selfdetermination and preservation of cultural and linguistic identity among the deaf around the world. What do you hope to accomplish with DDW? I sincerely look forward to contributing significantly to DDW’s fundraising efforts and increasing DDW’s visibility. Quote to live by: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

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Save the date! Friday April 19, 2013 Discovering Deaf Worlds’ THIRD ANNUAL BENEFIT 4

Discovering Deaf Worlds

Celebrating International Week of the Deaf International Week of the Deaf (IWD), a World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) initiative supported by the United Nations, is a global celebration of Deaf culture and sign language. IWD is a platform for connecting Deaf and hearing people, family bonding, and establishing community partnerships. Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) in West Africa recently celebrated IWD using the WFD’s theme: “Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right!” IWD was also celebrated in India by the VAANI Deaf Children’s Foundation, which chose the theme of Together We International Week of the Deaf Can. in Ghana, West Africa Both GNAD and VAANI, in addition to hundreds of other Deaf advocacy organizations around the world, organized events for Deaf and hearing people to come together with their families and their community. In addition, workshops and presentations were arranged to help promote awareness about the importance of Deaf culture and sign language in our world. For more on VAANI’s IWD celebrations, check deaf-awareness-week-at-vaani/. To learn about GNAD’s IWD, visit

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. – Marian Wright Edelman

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DDW Volunteer Spotlight Sheena K. Stuart is a fulltime graphic designer at AllOut Marketing and currently resides in Rochester, N.Y. With extensive experience and an array of design skills, Sheena offers people exciting and innovative ways to connect with their audiences. Sheena K. A long-time DDW supporter, Stuart Sheena volunteers for DDW by designing marketing materials such as project flyers, newsletter advertisements, and so forth. Outside of graphic design, Sheena has a passion for Muay Thai kickboxing and hiking the Adirondack High Peaks. She aspires to be part of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, a club of enthusiasts who have climbed all 46 peaks. Please join us in welcoming Sheena to our volunteer team! Thank you, Sheena, for all your hard work in support of DDW!


Discovering Deaf Worlds

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Discovering Deaf Worlds

Shout-Outs! Shout-Outs! Shout-Outs! Rosie, Jon, Alana, Adam, Linnea and the rest of the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs EMPOWER Community Program staff: Thank you for creating this incredible opportunity to build capacity of local leadership with deaf organizations around the world! John and Sheila Justice Family Foundation: Thank you for all the kindness you’ve shown us since DDW was first established six years ago. You are generous! Jenny Kwong and Jack Wang of Deco Kitchen Cabinet and Bath, Inc.: We are deeply grateful for your most generous gift, and hope to see you when you visit Rochester next.

Elizabeth Bjerke: Time and time again you have shown your support for our mission through your words and actions. Thank you. Kenneth Mikos: Your generosity has allowed us to carry on our work. Thank you! Daniel Zucker: Thank you for taking the initiative to host a successful fundraiser for DDW. We appreciate your pro-active nature and enthusiastic support of our work. Guillaume Chastel: Thank you for inviting us to present at the University of Rochester ASL Program’s 15th anniversary celebration. We wish you all another 15 wonderful years!

What is DDW? Discovering Deaf Worlds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the self-determination of signing Deaf communities through local capacity building in developing countries. DDW recognizes that all people, regardless of their social or economic background, possess the capacity to succeed, and deserve equal access to education, the workplace, and the benefits that society has to offer. For more information, visit:

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December 2012 Newsletter  

Our final newsletter of 2012 includes a summary of DDW's work with Deaf leaders in the Philippines, supported by a US Department of State gr...

December 2012 Newsletter  

Our final newsletter of 2012 includes a summary of DDW's work with Deaf leaders in the Philippines, supported by a US Department of State gr...