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The Gallaudet University Global Deaf Village …

… has been selected for recognition in the 10 Top Citizen Diplomacy Programs by a partnership between U.S. government agencies.

The programs will be highlighted at the U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy in Washington, D.C., from November 16 to 19, at the Grand Hyatt hotel.

The goal of the summit and 10-year Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy is to dramatically increase the number of American volunteers of all ages involved in international activities at home or abroad. The summit is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy and the U.S. State Department in support of more than 1,000 U.S. non-governmental organizations conducting citizen diplomacy activities.
In response to President Obama’s 2009 call to action to the American people “to take our share of responsibility for global responses to global challenges,” U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy participants will address seven global challenges: Preserving the Environment, Reducing Poverty and Disease, Increasing Respect for Human Rights, Creating a Globally Competent Society, Encouraging Cultural Engagement, Achieving Food Security, and Securing U.S. and Global Financial Security.

The Gallaudet Global Deaf Village project identified itself as serving the Increasing Respect for Human Rights and Creating a Globally Competent Society challenges.

The Global Citizen Diplomacy Summit will highlight Gallaudet on Wednesday, November 17, at 9:45 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. Donald Beil, chief of staff in the President’s Office, and Dr. Asiah Mason, director of the Center for International Programs and Services (CIPS), will represent Gallaudet at the summit award ceremony. Also attending from the University are several key leaders in the Global Deaf Village project: Dr. Amy Wilson, associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Research; Dr. Barbara White, a professor in the Department of Social Work; Dr. Madan Vasishta, associate professor in the Department of Administration and Supervision; and Larry Musa, international student and global education specialist in the College of Professional Studies and Outreach.

Mason cited a quote from the Gallaudet International Education Task Force 2002 in expressing the honor this selection brings to the University: “Gallaudet is both an American and a world institution. We find that global studies and activities legitimately fit within this academy’s mandate for teaching, scholarship, and service, or meet an obligation of providing equitable support to all students. Finding ways to intertwine our scholarship with a pan-human perspective and a commitment to raising opportunity for deaf people worldwide is a noble aim, and one befitting the legacy of this unique university.”

Mason added that Gallaudet’s inclusion in the 10 Top Citizen Diplomacy Programs “has brought CIPS’ work towards developing Gallaudet into a U.S. State Department-Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Center of Excellence one step closer.” In addition, CIPS is following Gallaudet’s Strategic Plan in leading, supporting, and promoting international education activities.

More about the Global Deaf Village project
Gallaudet’s Global Deaf Village project aims to foster partnerships with deaf individuals, deaf associations, and allies of the deaf community in the United States and overseas to advocate for one another’s’ equal and inalienable rights. This project is helping to fulfill the University’s commitment to improving the lives and knowledge of all deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide by engaging students, faculty, staff, and alumni in programs overseas that range from one week to one semester: the First Year Study Tour (FYST) and Honors Program to Costa Rica, the Global Internship Program, and Deaf-centric Study Abroad opportunities.

The First Year Study Tour is for freshmen deaf students to give them their first experience as ambassadors, friends, and allies within the local and global deaf communities. The Global Internship is for graduate students majoring in international development who work with organizations for people with disabilities, non-governmental organizations, or federal/private agencies. Deaf-centric Study Abroad is for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to bring about life-changing experiences that impact both themselves and deaf people around the globe.

The Global Deaf Village has helped increase respect for human rights, create a globally competent society, and encourage cultural understanding.

A greater accomplishment of the Global Deaf Village has been its impact on deaf communities worldwide. The Global Deaf Village project continues to enlighten countries on the concept of deafness through greater access to information and advocacy leadership training to a large number of deaf and hard of hearing people and the communities that work with them. The project also enables Gallaudet students to become advocates for deaf and hard of hearing individuals through teaching and training programs.

A global impact
The results of Gallaudet’s Global Deaf Village ambassadors have been substantive. They have: (1) Started a school for deaf people in Cameroon, which continues to operate with the help of interns and volunteers from the University; (2) Conducted internships at the World Federation of the Deaf in West Africa, the Finland Association of the Deaf in Malawi, Mirakle Couriers in India, the Helen Keller Foundation in Indonesia, the Malaysian Federation for the Deaf, Amnesty International, Centro Sullivan in Peru, schools for deaf students in Nicaragua, and Associacion Nacional de Costa Rica; and (3) Conducted training and workshops on human rights of women, the status of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and HIV/AIDS and the rights of the GLBT community. In general, Global Deaf Village participants have been inspired to learn foreign languages, and many have ultimately chosen future paths of international relations and international development. Some students and alumni have applied to work with the U.S. Peace Corps and other international development organizations because of their international experiences through the Global Deaf Village. In addition, several international students have become presidents of national deaf organizations abroad.

Task forces for global diplomacy
In preparation for the summit, nine sector task force groups were created to highlight ways in which organizations within each sector can expand existing initiatives and offer new and innovative programs to encourage more engagement of Americans in global citizen diplomacy. Top 10 Programs were selected in the following sectors: Business, Community-Based Organizations, Development Assistance, Global Health, Higher Education, International Cultural Engagement, International Voluntary Service, K-12 Education, and Youth Service.

The task forces are co-chaired by experts in their respective fields and represent broad networks of U.S. non-profit, non-partisan organizations. The task force groups compiled and vetted hundreds of program submissions as part of the selection process, and will present these top new and collaborative opportunities to increase U.S. citizen engagement in international affairs at the summit.

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