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October 2016 Volume 10, Issue 1

DDW’s Board and Staff at the First Annual Gala in Washington D.C. TO learn more about this year’s gala, see page 7.

Vice President’s Note: Khadijat Rashid, Ph.D.

Board Members President Shane Feldman Vice President Khadijat Rashid, Ph.D. Treasurer Michael Servé Secretary Mencie Hairston Carol-lee Aquiline Sophie Betts Alim Chandani, Ph.D. Erin Moriarty Harrelson Joseph Hill, Ph.D. Marty Hiller Kimberly Kurz, Ph.D. Poorna Kushalnagar, Ph.D. Melissa Malzkuhn Roslyn “Roz” Rosen, Ph.D. Tommie Sarchet Steve Titlebaum Staff Executive Director Davin Searls International Programs Director and Co-Founder David Justice

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About DDW

Discovering Deaf Worlds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the selfdetermination 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



October 2016

It has been an exciting few months. Raphy Domingo, one of the cofounders and current treasurer of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), and a core team member in DDW’s EMPOWER and EXPAND programs, was in Washington, D.C. in late September. Invited by Gallaudet University’s Raphy Domingo, former President of the Philippine new president Roberta Federation of the Deaf and core team participant in Cordano to participate in DDW’s EMPOWER and EXPAND programs inauguration events, Raphy was a panelist for Advancing Transformational Leadership in Deaf Communities Around the Globe, which I moderated. During this panel, Raphy talked in depth about what was required to lead and ensure the success of an organization like PFD, pulling together thousands of deaf people with different goals and interests from all over a very diverse country. He recognized DDW for its assistance in PFD’s evolution to what it is today. Raphy emphasized how DDW was different from other organizations. He explained that instead of “telling PFD” what they should do, DDW worked to elicit PFD’s objectives, and then assisted PFD in achieving these goals through a deliberative and inclusive process. The DDW board in the Washington, D.C. area hosted a reception for Raphy at board member Poorna Kushalnagar’s home. Poorna and her husband Raja are long-time DDW supporters, and we were grateful for their hospitality. Present were board members Shane Feldman, Erin Harrelson, Poorna Kushalnagar, Steven Titlebaum, Mencie Hairston, and me, in addition to about 10 DDW supporters. Raphy took the opportunity to further update us about the current status of PFD, which includes work with other disability organizations to get a nationwide accessibility act through their Senate. If it passes and becomes a law, it will improve the lives of many. We look forward to PFD’s many more accomplishments to come. Moving forward, we are excited to host our Second Annual Gala in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 5. This will be an opportunity for our ongoing supporters and new friends to learn more about DDW’s successes to date and our plans for the future. We are always looking for new board members with backgrounds in international development, non-profit management, and fundraising/fund development. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at

GRLP Update: Readiness for Change

NTID students with Searls and Justice after a GRLP training. Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant.” Yet, in reality, how often are we ready for change? When working to enact change through advocacy, more questions arise. Are we prepared to do the work when the change happens? Are the people, policies, and institutions ready for that change? Are they fully aware of the circumstances, the impact, and reasons this change must occur? Why should governments and policy-makers pay attention to Deaf causes and issues? How do we make our cause their cause? These are some of the questions being discussed among international Deaf students in the Global Readiness Leadership Program (GRLP). The GRLP is a pilot program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), supported by the Nippon Foundation under the NTID Sasakawa-DeCaro Scholarship. DDW Executive Director Davin Searls and DDW Programs Director David Justice are facilitating ”Global Leadership Readiness,” a year-long non-credit course for students from Nepal, Ghana, India, the Philippines, Tanzania, South Korea, Myanmar, and Malaysia. “When these students return to their home countries after graduation, we want them to have a clear direc-

GRLP participant Abdul Hamidu Yussif from Ghana during an action plan activity. tion and action plan for how to work together with their national associations of the deaf,” says Justice. “We want them to have the confidence, ability, and support to carry out those plans.” The program has several multi-day retreats and evening lectures along with small group and one-on-one mentoring. Topics include organizational management and leadership, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), coalitionbuilding, and advocacy strategies for systemic change. Searls adds, “The most incredible aspect about this program is the students themselves. They bring the motivation, energy, and ideas. Our work is simply to facilitate the process needed for these ideas to become actions.” Many are full-time students with part-time jobs, and have the commitment and the drive to be great leaders in the international Deaf community. They are an inspiration to all who seek to educate the world on the indifference and inequalities the global Deaf community faces, and they are on the path to becoming change agents and role models for Deaf people everywhere. For more information on this program, please contact

Thomastine “Tommie” Sarchet, director of NTID’s center for international educational outreach and DDW Board member, explains her role in overseeing the pilot program. October 2016















October 2016

Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Warren Embraces Deaf Community On Sept. 19, Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Lovely Warren was joined by City Councilmember Elaine Spaull to proclaim the city’s International Deaf Awareness Week and to announce the city’s ongoing initiatives to make City Hall more deaf friendly, including a new web page that communicates city resources and information for the deaf community at DDW Board treasurer Michael servé, mayor lovely “The Rochester area is home to the nation’s largest, per-capwarren, and ddw’s david justice ita population of deaf and hard of hearing people and I want to at the mayor’s proclamation. make sure that City Hall is as accessible as possible for Rochester’s strong deaf community and that resources are readily available to meet their needs,” said Mayor Warren. “We’re working hard to create safer more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs, and better educational opportunities in our city and we want to make sure every resident in Rochester can be actively engaged in these efforts.” Representatives from We the Deaf People, DDW, Rochester School for the Deaf, National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, and other groups, joined the mayor to kick off International Deaf Awareness Week in Rochester. DDW thanks Mayor Warren for her initiative to provide more accessibility and opportunities for our vibrant deaf community. Photograph Courtesy of Communications Bureau, City of Rochester, N.Y.

We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference. – Nelson Mandela

October 2016



A Tribute to Dr. Yerker Andersson By Carol-lee Aquiline

cy, and people with disabilities. Yerker was also the first Deaf Kind, funny, extremely intelperson to present before the UN ligent. Tall, dark, and handsome. General Assembly in 1992. Sounds like anyone’s dream When I became WFD General man! Such a man was Dr. Yerker Secretary, one of the first conAndersson. Born in Sweden and gratulatory emails I received was later a U.S. citizen, Dr. Andersfrom Yerker. I had a flashback to son became one of the most that thrill I felt in Japan when he popular and powerful Deaf men walked onto the stage. Dr. Yerker in the world. From the classes Andersson, himself, sending he taught in social anthropology me a personal email! From that at Gallaudet University to his point on, he was a consistent, involvement in the National Asreliable source of information, sociation of the Deaf (NAD), and advice, and support for the work through his work with the World I was doing at the WFD, and for Federation of the Deaf (WFD), me. He never failed to respond Dr. Yerker Andersson he never failed to leave his mark. to a request for help. He proI was privileged to know and 1929-2016 vided invaluable guidance in the work with Yerker for several development of several policies, years. I initially met him when and in my overall work at the attending my first World Congress of the WFD in ToWFD. I was always learning something new from him, kyo, Japan, in 1991. He was then the WFD president and considered him one of my strong role models. and I was just beginning to become serious about my Yerker’s involvement with the WFD and Deaf cominvolvement with Deaf human rights, advocacy, and munities worldwide went way beyond his tenure as politics. I remember sitting in the audience during WFD president. He continued to give presentations the opening ceremony with this absolute sense of and encourage Deaf people in numerous countries, thrill. When Yerker walked onto the stage, I almost always directing them to connect with the WFD. He gasped because he had such a strong presence. served as a WFD Expert for many years, and also Over time I got to know him personally, and found served in the NAD’s International Expert Group. In underneath the powerful presence and intelligent 2011, Yerker became WFD’s first honorary president. confidence that he was a kind and funny man. I would be remiss if I did not mention Yerker’s wife, Yerker inspired many Deaf people the same way Nancy. Everywhere Yerker went, Nancy was usually he inspired me. During his tenure as WFD president, by his side. He spoke fondly of her, and her endless membership grew rapidly, primarily because of his support. advocacy and the contacts he established with Deaf When Dr. Andersson passed away on July 18, associations and people all over the world. Yerker’s 2016, in Frederick, Md., the world lost a great and keen understanding of the lives and needs of Deaf wonderful man. Thank you, Yerker, for everything people everywhere engendered trust in the WFD you taught and gave to me, and to Deaf people and its work. He was a tireless leader, never turning everywhere. It is now our responsibility to make sure down a request for advice or help if he could help it. all you did so selflessly was not in vain, and that the His work called the United Nations’ (UN) attention WFD and Deaf communities globally continue to to WFD, in addition to getting the attention of other grow in strength and human rights. international organizations for human rights, advoca-

Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. – Sheryl Sandberg



October 2016

DDW Gala in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5 By Allie Rice, 2016 DDW Gala Chair

On Saturday, Nov. 5, at 6-9 p.m., DDW will host its annual gala at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. There will be hors d’oeuvres provided by the National Press Club, remarks by DDW staff, board members, and special guests, a silent auction, and a performance by Invisible Hands International. Through an organizational capacity-building training series, DDW’s collective goal shared by its partners is to improve the standards of education, communication accessibility, employment opportunities, and human rights for Deaf people in developing countries. This gala will bring together DDW supporters, community advocates, international dignitaries, and embassy representatives, to recognize and celebrate achievements of DDW and its global partners. DDW board member Roslyn “Roz” Rosen will serve as the gala emcee, and the gala line-up includes remarkable presenters such as World Federation of the Deaf President and International Disability Alliance President Colin Allen, Charge d’Affaires at the Philippine Embassy Patrick A. Chuasoto, Gallaudet University President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano, and DDW Executive Director Davin Searls. During the gala, guests can bid on auction items such as a Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia indoor waterpark package, a New York Broadway

The National Press Club, where the DDW Gala on Nov. 5 will be held. tour, Nationals baseball tickets, dinner for eight guests with Gallaudet University President Cordano, and many more. Attendees are encouraged to dress in business casual or the attire of their home country. The nearest Metro stop is the Metro Center with the red, blue, orange, and silver lines. A 24-hour parking garage is on G St. between 13th and 14th St. . The gala will be an amazing get-together that brings forth new possibilities for collaboration and networking. Attendees will greatly benefit from the opportunities that DDW provides, and get involved in its mission. This annual event is a celebration of DDW’s partners, the international community, and our future. Come and join us! For more information, visit

October 2016




Do you have experience working with international Deaf communities and capacity building/organizational management? Do you share DDW’s values and collaborative approach to working with Deaf leaders? Are you interested in serving a leadership role? Apply for our Program Director position today! !



October 2016

Shout-Outs Kathleen Brady: Thank you for going above and beyond with your service to DDW in preparation for our board meetings, grant reports, and staff training. You have been an extremely valuable asset to this organization and we wish you well on your next great venture. John and Sheila Justice, Ken Mikos, Mike Rizzolo, Ken Bain, and Echo Greenlee: So much of what we are able to accomplish relies on the generosity of others — people like you. Thank you all for your continued generous support and believing in us! Bernard Bragg: Thank you for your ongoing support to DDW with your recent donation in honor of Drago Vukotic. You continue to be so generous to this organization and our community at large.

Wendy Wiatrowski, Nikki Reineck, and Allie Rice: You have been champion leaders in preparation for the upcoming DDW Gala in Washington, D.C. What a joy it has been to work with and learn from you all. Thank you for all that you do. Mirana Medina: You have poured your heart and soul into the making of the “Signs of Change” documentary on DDW and PFD’s collaboration. Thank you for your dedication and leadership in producing this film. We cannot wait to share it with the world! Kim Kelstone: Simply put, you are the best. Again and again you do so much for us. We cannot possibly thank you enough!

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. - Mahatma Gandhi !

October 2016



DDW October 2016 Newsletter  

In this issue: - Hear from DDW's Vice President, Dr. Khadijat Rashid, on Advancing Transformational Leadership in Deaf Communities Around...

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