Areas of Study

MSS 208

World Deaf Leadership Program, 1997-

The World Deaf Leadership Program Records, 1996-2005

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 208

Creator: World Deaf Leadership Program, 1997-

Title: The World Deaf Leadership Program Records, 1996-2005

Quantity: 8 boxes (4 linear feet) Abstract: Reports, correspondence, and proposals from educational and training projects undertaken by Gallaudet University’s World Deaf Leadership Program during its early years. Also includes some material from the International Center on Deafness.

Note: This document last updated September 2015.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Donated to the Archives by former WDL committee member Dr. Joseph Kinner, 2012.

Processed By: Christopher Shea, September 2015.

Processing Note:

Conditions on Use and Access: Restricted. May be accessed only with written permission from Gallaudet’s Office of Research Support and International Affairs, Office of the Provost, or Office of the President.

Related Material in the Archives


  • Half figure pose of Joseph G. Kinner. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Portraits
  • Head and shoulder pose of Joseph G. Kinner. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Portraits
  • Joseph Kinner, photographs. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: PH0043

Administrative History

The World Deaf Leadership Program was established in 1996 by an agreement between Gallaudet University and the Nippon Foundation of Japan. Founded in 1962, the Nippon Foundation is a philanthropic organization that gives grants for projects in various areas, including international cooperation and human resources development. In the mid-1990s, Gallaudet approached the Nippon Foundation with a proposal to use Gallaudet’s resources for international deaf education. The foundation agreed to contribute $3,000,000 to create what became the World Deaf Leadership Program.

The WDL was originally intended to conduct five-year training programs in foreign countries, in which Gallaudet representatives would provide training and education to the local deaf, and then gradually phase out support to allow the locals to take over the program. The first two sites chosen were Thailand and South Africa.

Today, the WDL program focuses on providing scholarships and internship opportunities for international deaf students.

Joseph Kinner, the donor of this collection, is a longtime member of the Gallaudet government and history faculty. His specialty is African history, and he received a Distinguished University Faculty Award from Gallaudet in 2011. Dr. Kinner was a founding member of the WDL steering committee and was also chair of its executive committee. He also founded Gallaudet’s International Center on Deafness (ICD).

Scope and Content

These records cover the early years of the WDL Program, in particular three main areas: the WDL steering committee and the Thailand and South Africa projects.

The steering committee records are fragmentary, mostly collected by Dr. Kinner during his service on the committee. Besides meeting agendas and minutes, it includes some correspondence, e-mails, and files on the Thailand and South Africa projects; there is some duplication between these three series.

The records of the country projects are brief, and the collections of progress reports do not seem to be complete. However, there is enough material for each project, from inception to evaluation, to provide a clear overview of how each project was planned, implemented, and concluded.

Also included is a collection of grant-seeking proposals. The bulk are not related to the WDL; they were sent to the ICD and reviewed by Dr. Kinner. Almost all were rejected, but they still may be of interest to researchers seeking information on international deaf organizations.

Series Descriptions

Series 1. Steering committee records, 1996-2002

Boxes 1-2

An incomplete collection of agendas, minutes, reports, and correspondence related to the WDL steering committee, including the correspondence of Dr. Kinner and Dr. Reginald Redding of Gallaudet, who served as the WDL’s program administrator.

This series also includes some steering committee records on the Thailand and South Africa projects; see series 3 and 4 for more on these.

Series 2. Nippon Foundation and other records, 1996-2000

Boxes 2-3

Correspondence and other material related to the Nippon Foundation’s sponsorship of the WDL program, including copies of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Nippon Foundation and Gallaudet that established WDL. Also includes some material on foundation representatives’ visits to the Gallaudet campus, as well as some items related to other deaf groups.

Series 3. South Africa project records, 1993-2005

Boxes 3-4

This series includes records related to two projects in South Africa. The first ran from 1997-2001 and the second ran from 2002-2005. Both involved collaboration between WDL and the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA) and were focused on leadership training for the deaf, including youth leadership camps and training for deaf community leaders in South Africa.

The series includes correspondence and progress reports from various involved parties. Of interest are a copy of the training manual used in the project, evaluation interviews of the first project, and copies of the revised DEAFSA Constitution.

See series 1 for steering committee records related to the first South Africa project.

Series 4. Thailand project records, 1997-2000

Boxes 5-6

WDL’s second overseas project was intended to promote the use of sign language in Thailand. It was carried out by WDL representatives in collaboration with the National Association of the Deaf in Thailand (NADT) and Ratchasuda College, a Thai educational institution for the disabled. It had two major goals: to educate deaf Thai adults and to train teachers of Thai Sign Language.

This series includes initial proposals and planning documents for the Thailand project, some correspondence and progress reports on the project, and materials on its final evaluation.

One unusual item is a collection of speeches given at the kickoff ceremony for the WDL project, including a speech by Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn of Thailand in which she gave her endorsement to the education of Thai deaf. This includes notes by Dr. James Woodward of Ratchasuda College explaining the cultural significance of the speeches.

See series 1 for steering committee records related to the Thailand project.

Series 5. Proposals, 1997-2001

Boxes 6-8

A collection of proposals from deaf schools and agencies around the world that were sent to the WDL and Gallaudet’s International Center on Deafness (ICD), seeking grant funds for various projects. Almost all were rejected for various reasons, such as missed deadlines, and include review forms initialed by Dr. Kinner. Also includes some correspondence about proposals for projects related to Africa, as well as review guidelines from the ICD.

Box Folder Title Year(s)
1 1 Agendas and minutes 1997-2000
1 2 Correspondence and reports 1999-2002
1 3 Emails 1996-1998
1 4 Emails 2001-2002
1 5 Joseph Kinner correspondence 2000-2001
1 6 Joseph Kinner correspondence 2001-2002
1 7 Reginald Redding correspondence 1997-1999
1 8 Steering committee records 1/3 1997-2000
1 9 Steering committee records 2/3 1997-2000
2 1 Steering committee records 3/3 1997-2000
2 2 Steering committee records on South Africa project 1/2 1997
2 3 Steering committee records on South Africa project 2/2 1997
2 4 Steering committee records on Thailand project 1/2 1998
2 5 Steering committee records on Thailand project 2/2 1998
2 6 Budgets 1997-1998
2 7 Clippings Undated
2 8 Contact sheets from Nippon Foundation reception 1997
2 9 Correspondence with Nippon Foundation 1996-1998
3 1 Expenses 1999-2000
3 2 Joseph Kinner correspondence on EDDI 2001
3 3 Material on Nippon Foundation 1998-1999
3 4 Nippon Foundation and Gallaudet memorandum of understanding 1996
3 5 Outlines for visits 1999-2000
3 6 Palestinian Benevolent Society for the Deaf brochure and certificates Undated
3 7 Project SEANAT outline Undated
3 8 Brochures 1993-1994
3 9 Calendars and progress reports for DEAFSA project 2004-2005
3 10 Correspondence and reports on DEAFSA project 1/2 2003
3 11 Correspondence and reports on DEAFSA project 2/2 2003
3 12 Correspondence on travel 1998
3 13 DEAFSA correspondence and proposal 2001-2002
4 1 DEAFSA draft constitution ca. 1995
4 2 DEAFSA reports 2003-2005
4 3 Emails 1997-1999
4 4 Final evaluation of South Africa project 2001
4 5 Interview on results Undated
4 6 Letter of agreement 1999
4 7 Meeting notes with Nippon Foundation 1996
4 8 Pat Johanson report on South Africa 1997
4 9 Report on youth camp 1998
4 10 Reports 1997-1999
4 11 Training manual 1998
5 1 Budgets 1999
5 2 Case study for UN 1997
5 3 Correspondence 1997-1998
5 4 Correspondence and notes on evaluation 1998-1999
5 5 Emails 1998-1999
5 6 Financial reports 1999
5 7 Newsletters 1997
5 8 Objectives and work plan 1999
5 9 Paper on deaf education in Thailand 1996
5 10 Project proposals 1997
5 11 Project proposals 1997-1998
5 12 Reports 1997-1998
6 1 Reports 1998-1999
6 2 Speeches from opening ceremony 1998
6 3 Transcript of meeting on evaluation 2000
6 4 Correspondence and forms for site visits 2001
6 5 Correspondence on proposals from Cameroon and Nigeria 2000
6 6 Department of Social Work proposal 1998
6 7 Joseph Kinner correspondence on African projects 2001
6 8 Lists of countries and addresses of deaf groups 2000
6 9 Proposals 2000
7 1 Proposals for sub-Saharan Africa 2000-2001
7 2 Rejected proposals 1/2 2000
7 3 Rejected proposals 2/2 2000
7 4 Rejected proposals for international partnership 1-13 1997
7 5 Rejected proposals for international partnership 14-32 1997
7 6 Rejected proposals for international partnership 33-53 1997
8 1 Rejected proposals for international partnership 55-78 1997
8 2 Rejected proposals for international partnership 79-98 1997
8 3 Rejected proposals for international partnership 99-119 1997
8 4 Responses to proposals 2000
8 5 Summaries and review guidelines for proposals 1997

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