Areas of Study


The CDDA is a Gallaudet-based non-partisan organization championing the development of skills in democratic excellence through debate, civic engagement, and disagreement.

The core values of the CDDA are centered around providing students with an inclusive environment where all perspectives, experiences, and beliefs are respected and appreciated. Students in the CDDA will develop their skills in active listening, critique, and persuasion all while building a network with individuals both inside and outside of the deaf community as they work together to become advocates for positive change in their communities and country.

Program Outcomes


We believe access to competitive debate in ASL will enliven critical thinking, intellectual humility, reasoned analysis, decorum, and rhetoric in the Deaf community. We strive to create a more tolerant, engaged, and perceptive Deaf community in which deaf and hard of hearing individuals become more knowledgeable and persuasive.


We believe the development of civic knowledge, skills, cohesion, and motivation through ASL is essential to making a difference through political and non-political processes. We hope for and work towards a future in which deaf and hard of hearing people are actively engaged in civic activities both inside and outside the Deaf community.


We believe deaf individuals deserve to have access to inclusive spaces that allow for critical self-reflection, the appreciation of differences, and participation in difficult conversations. Our goal is to establish a world of open-minded deaf people who welcome discomfort and seek growth by interacting with others that have different opinions, perspectives, identities, and experiences.


Gallaudet University

The atmosphere, ambition, and community of Gallaudet University further the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf people in a rapidly changing world by building social capital, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and rhetorical skills.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The values and practices of the CDDA including self-reflection, active listening, and social advocacy support our mission to create a safe and inclusive community with spaces where all are welcome.

Deaf Gain

The skills and habits developed by students as a part of the CDDA communicate the value of deaf people and deaf education to humanity by highlighting the diversity and contributions of the Deaf community.

Contact Us

Center for Democracy in Deaf America (CDDA)

Brendan Stern

Hall Memorial Building S400


(202) 651-5000

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