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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – The World Deaf Leadership Program Records, 1996-2005
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
World Deaf Leadership Program, 1997-
The World Deaf Leadership Program Records, 1996-2005
Gallaudet University Archives
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.
Acquisition Information: Donated to the Archives by former WDL committee member Dr. Joseph Kinner, 2012.
Processed By: Christopher Shea, September 2015.
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
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 1. Steering committee records, 1996-2002
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
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
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
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
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.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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