Inauguration 2016 – Advancing Transformational Leadership Around the Globe

– Hello everyone, welcome. Good afternoon. Good afternoon and welcome. Thank you for joining us
for this delightful event. It’s such an exciting week, and I am excited because
of this week is our first deaf female President’s instillation, so let’s have a round of
applause for Bobbi Cordano. We will have programs throughout the week and then we’ll tie it up with a nice party after Friday evening, are you ready to party? Good, good. Our first event will be
starting will this panel called Advancing Transformational
Leadership Around The Globe. We have our panelists here who have amazing leadership in their particular field of study,
in their particular country. We have a variety of different
countries represented here, and we will ask our
panelists to talk about their leadership, the deaf community,
conservation, human rights. These four panelists, I believe, they’ve all come from
three different time zones, so we really appreciate
you coming here and acclimating to the current
time zone you’re in. Before we go ahead, I’d
like to mention two things, this is International Week for the deaf and so it’s a perfect time
for us to have this panel and our President’s instillation. The Bernstein Center for
Excellent and Leadership, also another entity who has sponsored us is through our innovation programs as well as Sorrenson Communications so thank you all for your sponsorship. Now, we’ll start with our first question. I’ll sign the question. You all are the first in
your respective fields, just like our President
Cordano is the first female deaf President
at Gallaudet University. Now looking back, what
factors were responsible for being first in your field? Is there anything that you can pinpoint? Any three things that could
help us understand your journey? What would those three things be? – [Interpreter] For me,
those three things would start with family and
support from my friends and the deaf community. They advocated for me and others as well, to encourage me in my success. Secondly, education is
an important foundation to have language and access
to education and language, and thirdly passion. – [Interpreter] Okay anyone else? – [Interpreter] For me
those three things would be similar to what Nancy said,
the support of family. Also knowing that in a
world of hearing people deaf people can do anything they want to. Also that sense of pride in being deaf. – [Interpreter] And if you
have more than three things I’m more than happy to hear those. I don’t want to place you
in a limited kind of box so to speak. – [Interpreter] First I would like to thank Gallaudet University for inviting us for the events this week. Secondly, I need to take a moment to say that I have a lot to say. I will try to keep it short, first, the deaf community in South Africa appointed me to work as a
leader in the community, and we have an organization which
is very similar to the NAD, and I worked for many
years within the community and they lifted me. Also we have staff
within the organization, 82 staff members, and we work
with nine different provinces, and so with that support
we’ve been able to create a strong and robust program. And third, we have the World Federation of the Deaf and the first gathering
was in Africa in 2011, and they had been hosted
in other countries, and it was finally in Africa in 2011, and that was an opportunity for
us to engage as a community. There were 2,500 people attending, and hard of hearing
individuals, interpreters, and if you’re aware of the
Apartheid in South Africa and the experiences that
created, a lot of division among the deaf community
and so we’ve had to work together to bring the deaf
community back together, and we did that through the World Deaf Leadership Organization. And through the World Deaf
Leadership Organization and collaboration with Gallaudet, we began to develop leadership
programs to encourage the deaf community to elevate their work. Dr. Kubby Rashid came and worked with us. Another individual who has passed away, also worked to educate and develop leaders within the deaf South African community and by visiting us and
representing themselves as role models, then deaf
people within South Africa then could succeed and
work towards higher goals. Also recently the South
African deaf community has talked about the fact that we want sign language to be recognized
as an official language and so the nine provinces
have been pushing for the government to recognize South African sign language as an official language. We are seeking to have
that ratified and it’s not happened yet, we’re still in negotiation, but it’s through the work
of the World Deaf Leadership Organization that we’ve been
able to even get to this point of asking for our language to
be recognized in our country. – [Interpreter] Did you
want to add anything? – [Interpreter] My parents
have been very active in many organizations, both
religious organizations, clubs, they’ve really inspired me to be part of those
community organizations. Also my friends were my
source of inspiration. They’ve really gotten me involved to be part of the Filipino
Deaf Organization, that’s been an association
for the deaf and a club for 75 years and
so it was closed down and then now we have the
World Federation of the Deaf came and helped us to bring back that Filipino Deaf Organization. Also a deaf priest inspired
us as part of the community. Our community has faced several problems but we’ve been able to make it through. We’ve also been focused
on both human rights and language rights. – [Interpreter] You know
it takes a village to raise a child and this is very true. You see that many deaf
individuals are isolated in their communities and so it’s important for us to come together. – [Interpreter] I’d like
to back up for a moment. I don’t think anyone in the
audience knows your background. So if you wouldn’t mind
talking a little bit about your background, maybe
give it about two minutes, while you’re here, I think
that’d be a great opportunity. – [Interpreter] I graduated
from a two year certificate program in accounting, and people saw me as having
leadership potential. They asked me to be
part of establishing the World Federation of the
Deaf in the Philippines. Now we had an agency for
the deaf in the Philippines, that was not in existence any longer, and at that point I wasn’t familiar with organizational development, the government wasn’t run well. People were very upset about
how the government was run and so for me I realised
that I had to improve myself. I had to really learn about
how to do organizational development, how to find
organizations and strategies to lobby the government, and that really opened
up, for me, the world. I met other deaf people that
did organizational development and now I’m working at De Salle University of Saint Benilde, and I’m the head of the
leaning center for the deaf, working with access and development. I provide support services
for death students who are taking several
courses at the college, both interpreting services,
tutorial services, and also doing courses looking
at Filipino sign language. Finger spelling is not common
in Filipino sign language and so we’ve set up a course
to really look at FSL. Also we’re hoping in two
years to get a corpus. Nippon will be a sponsor for that program which we hope to get running in two years. There’s been many changes in regards to language rights in the Philippines due to advocacy, lobbying,
and presentations, but there’s a lot of
misconceptions about Filipino sign language, but the
mindset in the Philippines is changing about FSL. There was a bill that
passed in Congress and the legislature and it’s going to the Senate. We’re hoping that it will pass, that might take the next few years, but if that passes, then it
will be recognized as a law. FSL would be recognized as a mother tongue and if that passes then
deaf people would be able to have access to Filipino
sign language and education. We’re working right now to develop resources for when that happens. Also there’s an anti discrimination bill that we’re hoping passes, that’s a anti discrimination
bill against gays and lesbians and so there’s many
different organizations working on human and civil rights, and we’re a part of that
so I’m really excited to be a member and working on
all of those human rights aspects in the Philippines. – [Interpreter] My name is
Nancy, I was born and raised in Canada, very cold climate. I’ve always loved animals, I’ve always been intrigued by them. I am mainly connected to
animals and when I grew up I thought I wanted to be a vet. And my parents said you know
you can do whatever you want, regardless of you being deaf
or not, follow your dreams, so that’s what I did. I did well in school, graduated, went to the university
and studied medicine for a few years within their vet program, so that was premed and then
I got accepted to become, to go into med school
to be a veterinarian. Now I was told that I would
have to finish my Bachelor’s or my BS, within a certain
time period before I could go into Veterinary school. Which would be a really lengthy process, so I decided to kind of reconsider. I worked in a lab, I worked closely with some of the other hearing employees. It was a very large lab, it had at least 2,500 employees there. There were students. I had to negotiate new
communication within those who were working there,
I realised that working in the office was not really
something that I wanted to do. So I was told that I wasn’t stuck working in this environment, that I could do research and so I
eventually went off and did some research, found what I really loved. There were a lot of
barriers to working in that field because I’m deaf
and I didn’t get a lot of support or feedback,
I was tying to figure out how I could take these barriers down. People would look at me
and say gosh, you’re deaf, like oh you can’t do
that, you can’t do this, and I can’t stand the word can’t, because of how I grew up with my parents, how they empowered me and
told me to go for my dreams and my goals, I was able to get involved and break down
some of these barriers. Because of that I’ve
started fighting and I know that information is power
and access is power. So I went to the deaf
community who were suffering and oppressed and when I
do that I see that their human rights are not being addressed so I’ve gotten together with
several people to combat this. We provide movies with captions, we make sure that the deaf
communities human rights are being addressed, some
entities will not allow for hiring interpreters
and things of that, so that’s just me in a nutshell. – [Interpreter] I was born
and raised in Guatemala. I went to a school that
was oral, I did not use sign language growing up,
which was very frustrating. Then I was put in a mainstream program, sitting in front. It was very difficult to
catch all of what everybody was saying because I did
not have an interpreter. I sat in the front and
tried to make sure that I could lip read everybody. Eventually learned sign
language at 22 years of age. Later I worked in the bank,
and I didn’t have any problems communicating with the hearing
people I was working with. Eventually came here to
America, sponsored by Doorshawn University. And that really impacted
me, it was a culture shock that interpreters were
available, there was so much access available that I
didn’t have growing up. And that made me proud to be deaf. I really saw that deaf
people could do anything. I went to… I taught,
studied IT in business, then went back to my
country two years later and I saw that many deaf people
were behind in education. It made me feel like I
was a good role model. I started to think about what I could do, and I knew that Guatemala
had a school but it was oral based, and I wanted to set up something for the deaf community, but we didn’t have the funds. My dad and I talked a lot about
establishing a deaf school. Then there was one
American who came along and sponsored us, it was hard work, but I could see that people
looked to me as a role model and I wanted to make
sure that I gave back to the deaf community. The first couple years, it wasn’t easy, but we had some success. I saw that the bridge
started to fall because we needed more volunteers and
more people to do the work. One bishop had contacted
me, who was from Gallaudet, I was also in contact with several other friends from America. Also I want to thank the
peace corp for helping to put the foundations back
into the bridge, there’s more work to be done but we’ve
had a lot of success. I feel like hard work is
just part of the process and we’ll never give up. – [Interpreter] You know
I never enjoy talking about my past, honestly. I have a very sad past, and the world knows well
about the apartheid, and that based upon the
color of people’s skin. People were divided and segregated, it was very sad. As a black person, you
do not have opportunities to educate and develop an education, you are not given access
because you’re black. White people gained full access, and black people did not. And my parents could not advocate for me, because my parents are black, and my parents could not fight against the white dominant system. Black people were not
allowed access to education and the same is true for deaf people. Deaf schools in South Africa
were segregated as well, we had white and black and
also Indian deaf schools. I didn’t have time to study
access, I had time though and made time to fight the system. I know that education
is important but that was not my priority, my
priority actually was fighting the system, because
I wanted a better education. And a better education
would not be possible without an enhanced
system, and this is because of laws preventing black people
from becoming successful. My parents tried to fight,
they negotiated their way to a certain point to where the law would not allow them to succeed, because they were in black schools, and that was a struggle. There was always the struggle
for better education. I wanted to enroll in a University and at that time, black
people were not allowed to enroll in Universities, so I up and studied
outside of the University, and studied abroad or
like other black students. So like many Gallaudet students here, you’re able to graduate high
school and go to college. It’s an incredible
experience, but my experience was very different, knowing
that I could not go to college after high school. And my mother is of very soft heart, she always fed me important
information and tools in life from the time that I was a baby to prepare me for the
challenges of the real world. After school I went into theater. I went to the national
theater of the deaf, and that was my first time
working with white people. In South Africa remember,
I never had even a class with white students, I was
always around black students. So this was my first white experience in working with these individuals. Also I had never had a white girlfriend so here in America I
had my first white girl who liked me and I thought,
how is this possible because in my country, you
would go to jail for that. Interracial relationships are not allowed, but here it’s so different
and diversity is accepted. And when I went back to South Africa and Nelson Mandela was able to
free us from the Apartheid, we then had more access and were able to engage together as one. And our sign language interpreters then could also work together as
one whole and then we began to see changes in excess. Now individuals can access
interpreters at universities, students now are encouraged
to learn sign language and have access to
interpreters and education. My wife graduated from
Gallaudet, she’s also a member of the Gallaudet
Board, and she is also deaf. People still ask me, how is that you… How will you and your wife both being deaf be able to communicate
with one another and that’s fine, I share of
course, but I’m very proud. You know the Apartheid will not break me, I will always fight
and always have fought. I’ve never allowed the
lack of access to education define me, we are all equals. I am so glad that we are all
here together today as equals, and we continue to fight the great fight. (applause) – [Interpreter] I have so many
follow up questions to that I don’t even know where to start. So let’s stay with the
script and maybe will get to those other questions later, okay? But I want to go ahead
and follow the intended questions so next question please. Seems like we’re having
some technical difficulties, but the stories that
you shared are amazing. Here in the United States, we still have some of the same struggles and I can see some
commonalities between all of your stories and experience. The Nippon foundation
brought you here before. Your sister kind of got
you into the community, your sister was a student here. Same thing, it’s amazing that, I mean, that really just
explains a lot about the communities that are involved
and the impacts we have on the community as a whole, globally. Often we go about our business everyday, and we forget that the whole world is looking at us as an example. Okay, I think we’re ready
for our next question. As leaders, you have
excelled at getting your diverse communities and
stake holders to rally around and work with you towards your goals. How did you achieve
this, how did you achieve all of the stake holders to work together, even with the diversity at play? – [Interpreter] In all of
my work and with the WFD as well as the Regional South African south eastern deaf community,
we have many different languages, many different cultures. When you think about culture and language and often the philosophies
behind that are contradictory. In our community we have passion, and there are different
levels of that, certainly, and often the realities will conflict with what we actually want to do. So how do you make sure
that what we need to happen in the parliament as well as
in the community is negotiated. And there are often
conflicts within what’s law and what’s needed in the community, so we have to come to the table and talk, we have to take time for
that, we have to talk through diversity, and through those conversations we begin to realize that we
all need to come to the table with open minds and open
hearts, and when we do that, we then can communicate
with positive attitudes and be effective and
contribute to one another, and that is where we develop partnerships. Diversity is very important
and you have to come with an open heart and you
must be passionate and patient. (laughter) and if you come without
patience, you’ll find that the communication is not as effective. You have to understand for
example people who come from Finland, they’re very
stoic in their expression and then of course people
who come from Spain are going to be very
animated and you have to be open to that, everyone’s
gonna come to the table with very different
backgrounds and experiences, but if we can come together
we’ll be successful, and that is my advice. – [Interpreter] Speaking of leadership, when you’re on the front lines, it doesn’t always work when you’re taking the lead in that sense, but to be behind the scenes, to support people behind the scenes in many
different ways shapes and forms, is also a very powerful way to lead, to get people together,
to get people’s opinions and perspectives and
engagement and investment, to come together to make
decisions as a whole. If someone asks me
opinions and my thoughts, that makes me feel good, and
it makes me want to participate and be involved and
engaged collaboratively. So leading is successful if
you have others to be involved, it’s not just a one person show. – [Interpreter] It’s very
important to have a group of deaf people leading, to be role models. Also having that motto of never giving up, to always to keep
fighting is so important. – [Interpreter] Now with the Filipino Federation for the Deaf, it’s not really about people
looking at me for who I am, but it’s about developing trust. Also about transparency
and accountability, those are all very important. The deaf community looks to me to talk about different
issues that we’re facing in the deaf community such
as FS, Filipino sign language used in the community,
gay and lesbian rights, but you’re right, it’s not
easy to get everyone involved. It’s often people are
hesitant to get involved and it’s not about, you
know, showing that I’m better than somebody
or that I’m the leader, it’s about developing that
trust so that everybody takes a part of the organization,
that people get engaged. When that happened, we got
a lot of people to show up, to talk about the Filipino
sign language bill because they trust me, they
might not have understood everything about the bill
but they understood that Filipino sign language was important. Now we do have divides
within our deaf community, and so I went to these
community members and started to explain what FSL was all about, that it was important to
support Filipino sign language and educate people in their native tongue instead of just in ASL or
in signed exact English. So it was a lot of work to get
the bill passed in Congress and hopefully in the
Senate, but doing that work is very important and it’s
critical to get everybody involved, not only the
deaf community but people around that community as well. – [Interpreter] I’d like to add too. We are always watching Gallaudet, always. As well, Gallaudet puts out Youtube videos and it’s incredible, I always
watch Youtube, we all share. If there are any issues that come up, it’s shared and resolved. If there are issues with
racism, any other types of isms or conflicts on campus,
Gallaudet opens it up for rich conversation and
dialogue and education. You are a good model
because there are many other deaf communities that are
looking to you for direction. You represent such a
diverse group of people with diverse language backgrounds
and you have conflicts, you have issues, certainly,
but still as a University, you all focus to resolve
issues and have dialogue. That makes me very happy, I
look to Gallaudet as a model, and so again my advice
would be to keep doing what you’re doing. – [Interpreter] Wonderful. Well I’m really thinking a
lot about what you’re saying, the information that
you’re sharing is rich. And talking about leading
from behind and not being the one on the forefront can
also be a type of leadership. You have to have confidence and I think that’s the key, and trust. We’ve had trust issues
in the past, of course, but we’re learning and
we’re developing trust with each other, it takes
patience like you mentioned. It doesn’t happen overnight. We do come inpatient, we
want things to happen now, we want things to happen yesterday, but also being able to
listen and collaborate with one another as individuals. That’s powerful and I hope
that we’re recording this because I’d like to go back
and watch your comments and learn from them. Okay, next question. You know that leaders always do fail. I mean, even when you’re
just born, you’re a baby in a couple days, you
will fail in some way, so what is one lesson you
have learned from a particular failure experienced in
your own leadership? – [Interpreter] I think
one of the experiences that I had was to do with volunteering, I chose someone from the UK. They emailed me to ask
about volunteering in the deaf school, I didn’t
know who they were. They came to the school and
I asked the UK volunteer if they knew sign
language and they did not, which was part of the failure. They loved the school,
they loved the kids because it’s a different culture,
but that was one failure, and so I’ve learned to develop
a criteria for my volunteers that they must know sign
language and be part of the deaf community. – [Interpreter] And be prepared right? – [Interpreter] Right, and
if they meet those criteria then they can come and
have access to the kids. – [Interpreter] Number one
piece of advice is listen. I had a moment where I was very busy, I was working on deadlines, I finally had a conversation
with someone and they wanted to give me feedback and I brushed them off because I was so focused on my deadlines. That was a mistake. Another, I work, I go home, I work some more. My wife says, “Hey Bruno,” I say, “Wait.” My wife says, “Hey
Bruno,” and I say, “Wait.” And I learned over time, to listen. I might be the boss, I might
be working at that level, but if your employees give you feedback and you don’t take it,
as a leader, you failed. Being an effective team requires diversity and opinion and feedback
is really important to make a team successful. I had family members giving me
feedback and I didn’t listen. If your spouse is giving
you feedback, take it. From that I learned it’s
important to balance your life and your work, because if
you put too much effort into your work, you will fail, and again listening is my most important effort for not failing. – [Interpreter] Where I’ve
failed, I mean, I have a lot of instances where I’ve
failed, but looking back, the lessons I’ve learned and
my learning is not complete. I will continue to learn,
I will continue to fail and I will continue to
redirect and navigate into other ways of being. I can be stubborn sometimes,
I can be particular about completely one goal or one vision, and in a way I have tunnel vision, but then there are barriers
that occur and I don’t complete it, I don’t follow through. I see these barriers and
then I shift and navigate to other ways of working
through these barriers. My work’s not complete. Maybe I have to shift to other projects, but that’s how I navigate that. – [Interpreter] Just like Nancy said, everybody has a lot of failures, but there was one thing
that I’ll never forget that happened to me years ago. My failure was related to being selfish. We had a technology work group and that was about FSL,
we had a hearing… That technology work group was specifically related to the FSL bill. People didn’t want C or ASL
to be added to the bill, they wanted the government
to focus on passing just a Filipino sign language bill. There was a lot of argument
when it went for the first read. And we thought, maybe
we’re failing at this bill because we’re too selfish. We went back to the group for discussion, and we recognized that it was
important to let the schools make a decision about what
language they would use, especially those private schools. Private schools would not
be required to use FSL, but we learned that it
was selfish to ask for FSL to apply to everything. We’re hoping that because
Congress has passed it, that the same will happen in the Senate but that was one way that we
learned from our failures. – [Interpreter] Well, so
the lesson learned is just to go out and fail. (laughter) Okay, next question. We talked about failures,
but let’s talk about what are you doing to
ensure your continuation of growth and development as individuals? – [Interpreter] Really for me, growth means that instead of being a complainer, I needed to stop demanding things, demanding things from the government. Just like dating, you’ve
got to have that first date, you’ve gotta negotiate. I tried to change my attitude
toward the government. And so the negotiations will never stop. I have to continue to
evolve in my learning. Also the discovering World Deaf Organization taught me a lot. I had many foreign
volunteers that would make decisions without us and
make decisions without us as part of the system. But, that organization trained
us, they shared with us, they provided consultation
services to deaf Filipinos. They asked about our
organizations because they knew that we knew our country
better than they did. They encouraged us to learn. Even though we’ve made
mistakes, we knew that those were growth experiences
and they helped foster leadership in our community. – [Interpreter] We really do
have to keep an eye globally as to what is happening
throughout the world, social media, Facebook, what are the hashtags that are going out. Educate yourself, personal growth, participate in discussions and keep going, be involved
with organizations. Keep changing, keep growing, keep growing until your time is done. – [Interpreter] When
Gallaudet representatives came to South Africa for WDL,
I believe that was in, I believe it was 1989. – [Interpreter] 89. – [Interpreter] 1998. At that time we had a training manual, and it was basic and advance, and today we actually still use it, the manual that we got from
WDL and the Gallaudet visit. Even though it’s from 1997,
we’ve actually added to it, we have evolved it, we
teach women to empower them, and they train and they run
the trainings themselves and become leaders themselves. You know why I know this? I have a very good teacher, my wife. She is always demanding equity
and equality in our community and it’s hard in our community. Often in our communities,
the men are considered superior and so we have to fight doubly as hard to treat women as equals. So education is very important
as well as for youth, and educating the youth. While I bring a lot of
experience, I am just one person, and it is with the youth
and our women that we see our future achievements, also we have a hard time getting
African men to accept these changes and that there
are a lot of changes, and that the government is going to start supporting women in parliament,
women in businesses, women in education, more now than ever. So I am now working to educate African men to accept the changes that are happening before their very eyes. And it’s incredible to see that Gallaudet has a female president. I know that there’s
some men in the audience that would prefer that
the president were male and that’s alright. Honestly,
there’s no difference between a man or a woman. And we need to educate
that to our communities and to lift the power among women. I’m always amazed, You know, you have a
man who’s very powerful but as soon as he’s sick, he’s a big baby but you have women who can have babies and they still continue
to work every single day. And a lot of the women are very brave, they travel to other countries. You think about Nancy, she went to Africa to work as a zoologist. It took a lot of bravery
for her to do that. A lot of programs are
being developed for women to be a part of and so we
want to support those women and so I would advise you to include women in all of your future efforts. – [Interpreter] Wonderful. – [Interpreter] Really
in Guatemala, it’s very similar to what you explained, Bruno. The Mayans are not experiencing equality. Also that in the deaf
community, empowering Mayans, empowering women, it’s not about me. I have a lot of experience
but I need to pass that on to the deaf community
as well as the deaf Mayan community to make sure that
there future is secure, that they become the leaders. Like I said, never give up, it’s something important to continue. – [Interpreter] I did
want to add something. – [Interpreter] Sure. – [Interpreter] Filipino
federation of the deaf has five women, two people
who are gay and no men in our group, if you can believe it. – [Interpreter] Something that
struck me from your sharing, knowledge is like a candle,
a turning on of a light so to speak, you can share that flame, and a serial flame. Now you had mentioned
the manual which was from what 1998? 1997? 1998? There was a Gallaudet
professor here who has now sense retired, but the
two of us wrote this manual, and I actually forgot about it, and when he mentioned it
I thought oh my goodness he’s still using this
manual, 18 years later, and we’re all still going along just fine. So what we share and when we share it, it still is important, and
you can still grow from what we’re sharing with each
other, and collaborating with one another. You’re still able to grow and move. So what you’re sharing,
we don’t know what impacts that will occur with other
people, but we share. – [Interpreter] It’s a triple
effect, or a ripple effect. When you throw a stone in a pond, it has that ripple effect outward. – [Interpreter] I would
like to share something else about the manual that we’re
using to educate our leaders. We also use that in Botswana, Zambia, and other countries as well. Deaf people love leadership and to have diversity in leadership. It’s like animals, and it’s like animals. Each group of individuals want a leader. So for example, frogs, they
love to complain, right? That’s just the way they are. Elephants are very loud, and
they like to take up space, they knock people out of the way. And a lot of deaf people are like that. When we begin to identify
individuals with their animal partners, or their
characteristic is very similar to animals, it allows us
an opportunity to open up and we actually use that as a foundation for some of our education. I always refer to WDL as do
many of us in South Africa while you at Gallaudet may not
be aware, we are very aware. – [Interpreter] We still
do have the WDL program. I mean, there’s been some adjustments but we still have it, it still exists. Okay, next question. We want to make sure
though that the audience has time and room for some questions, so this will be our last
question, official question for the panelists and
then I’ll ask if you do have a question to please
come up to the side of the room to address your question. Now, do you have any
closing reflections or words of wisdom for our
community, and particularly for our students here? – [Interpreter] Like I said before, do not sit on your lorals. The real world is a tough place. It’s challenging. The governments are challenging. Deaf people are challenging and hearing people are challenging. There is no easy road, and
you all are very fortunate because you have the
Americans with Disability Act. Use that. Make that your bible. Keep it in your pocket so you
know where you’re protected. Hearing people in the world
don’t know about the ADA, and it’s up to you to bring
that knowledge to the table. Second, don’t judge deaf people. Look at everybody as equals. Also if I could ask if you have a degree, do not think or believe or
behave as though you are then better than others because
you have a college degree. When you have a college degree
that means then you have the duty to give
leadership, to give support, encouragement, and education. You then become a role model
for other deaf individuals. (light applause in audience) – [Interpreter] For those
who are living here locally, you have several paths
which you can choose. You can choose a path of least resistance and you know, realize that
it’s, you’re doing just good enough, it’s the easier road, but out in the world, it’s scary sometimes sure,
but it’s amazing place, it’s a beautiful place. There’s loads of opportunities
for you to go out there and maybe take the road
that’s a little more tough. You know? Get involved, advocate for yourself, pursue
your dreams, never give up. – [Interpreter] Deaf
students here are so lucky because they have so much access. It’s important to respect
the cultures of the world, visit other countries, be
willing to share what you know, to share your leadership,
your personal experiences, your lessons learned from being here. Gallaudet is the best
place to be in the world so take what you’ve learned and bring it back to the community. – [Interpreter] We’re all
human. Deaf people are human. Regardless of culture or race, one thing that we have in common
in the world is being deaf. We are lucky to have Gallaudet here. Don’t forget your fellow deaf people, your fellow deaf friends
worldwide when you’re here at Gallaudet, with all the
multitude of experiences. People in other countries
need role models. How can they survive
without these role models. They may be overlooked, they
may be considering suicide. It’s important that the
deaf community has access to role models and so don’t forget them. Just like Nancy talked about
the path of least resistance. Find your path, work
on it, help each other, volunteer, get out there,
be a part of helping other deaf people, analyze
what you have to give. – [Interpreter] I’d like to
add for your consideration. Don’t stop. When you graduate from Gallaudet, the buck does not end
there, get involved, work, get engaged in the World Federation of the Deaf office, volunteer. You have the National
Association of the Deaf, get involved. You have a youth services organizations, women’s organizations, get
involved, become members, advocate. The WDF is sharing the UN
articles and talking about many countries have been
ratifying their conventions for human rights, many
of you may be studying those conventions and
if you are, get engaged, become leaders, educate others, travel, and share your skills. And the skills that you
develop should not be held to your own self
but rather shared with everybody in the world,
then we all learn together as a community. – [Interpreter] Thank you all so much. I believe we have about 10 minutes, if there is anyone in the
audience who has any burning questions, please do come to
the left side of the stage. The interpreters will
interpret your comments. Remember we only have about 10 minutes. – [Interpreter] Hello, I’m
Anna, I’m a fifth year student and there are a lot of
students here in the auditorium who want to be just like
you, and across the world. So what advice do you have
for us while we are students? How can we contribute to the
world while we’re students? – [Interpreter] Take the opportunities. Don’t say I’ll just do
that later and hang out with your friends, you might
not get that opportunity back. Volunteer, get out there,
and get more experience. Then you’ll be able to figure
out what are the things that you’re passionate about. Never just sit and rest
on your lorals, but take those opportunities. – [Interpreter] Did you
all catch what she said? We may need an international interpreter. There is a deaf individual who is studying social work in a university. And after he graduated, this person is now working
in the field of accounting, yet he got a degree in social
work and is now an accountant and so I asked how did
he make that decision, and he said the same
thing that Nancy said. An opportunity arose for
him and he went for it. And another opportunity arose because they have training
manuals and programs in the accounting field
that he was excited about and so he decided that was
the best place for him, and through that you will
start to narrow your focus in what you want to do. So I would recommend that
whatever you’ve decided to study that you also study in
different disciplines as well. So that you truly understand
yourself as a whole being and what you might be most successful in. And the reason why it’s
important to work in many different areas is because
it expands you knowledge, and the more expanded your
knowledge is, the more you can share with other deaf individuals. – [Interpreter] Great, thank you so much. Alright, any other
questions from the audience? Please do come on up. – [Interpreter] Hello everyone. My name is Linda and I was
wondering about what kind of research you’ve been involved with. What kind of research do you do? – [Interpreter] Hm, my
research is complex but I specifically look at predators, at the food chain, those
animals that are at the top of the food chain, lions and hyenas, and I look at the
competition between the two. – [Interpreter] Very interesting
research. Okay, thank you. – [Interpreter] Nancy has a
really cool video on Youtube. – [Interpreter] It’s
Facebook actually, Kubby. – [Interpreter] Facebook
and Youtube, you might want to check it out. She
created it for deaf children and I believe it’s open to the public. – [Interpreter] I did, it’s a short pilot. Right now the second video
doesn’t have voice on it but we will add voice
to it, but right now, the first one is on Facebook, it’s public, it’s easy to find, but I created the video
because I wanted to know how much the community that I was within cared and valued about
animal preservation. So I have nieces and
nephews and other children in the community who are very young and I was sharing some stories. And I wanted to see how they responded. They were very interested,
they wanted to hear more so I knew that there was a
desire for this information, and we talked about all of
the animals in their village and the animals that were
experiencing extinction. So we understood that that
was important to educate. My next project will be another
video educating the youth and part of my challenge
has been finding vocabulary in the language that I’m in, Botswana. For example, bird, there’s
only one sign for bird, but actually I might want to
refer to many many different birds, like flamingos, or parrots, and so I actually need to be
able to work with the community to expand on the vocabulary
and signs that are applied to various animals. – [Interpreter] So you’re maybe
suggesting that there might be a new dictionary that
would include some of those signed vocabulary like robin, or other types of birds
like that like cardinals? Is that what you’re suggesting? – [Interpreter] It’s not new,
it’s just something to add. Now I understand that there
is a group in Botswana of deaf scientists who are working on developing a dictionary, and expanding these signs for animals. – [Interpreter] Wonderful, thank you. – [Interpreter] I’m sorry
because of time we will have to end our questions. But we’ll
entertain one more question. – [Interpreter] Thank you very much. My name is Linh, L-I-N-H. My sign name like this, I’m from Vietnam. I have two questions. Very important. In Vietnam we have many deaf clubs. All together for to advocate for the Ministry of Education and Training, to the Vietnam Federation of the Deaf and National College of Education. How we cooperate with one another, to get for the deaf community in Vietnam? The second question, now the Ministry of
Education and Training, they want to have the
inclusive of education for deaf children in the whole country. We don’t want the inclusive of education, we want special education. How can we resolve the problem so that we can achieve what we want? That’s our two questions. – [Interpreter] In interest of time, I’d like to just ask one of
the panelists to answer this. – [Interpreter] I think
it’s important to get members of the deaf community
together to really explain why that’s important to
them before bringing it to your Ministry of Education. I know that’s not easy and it takes time, it’s a long process to get
feedback from the community. It took us 20 years with
the Filipino Association for the Deaf to really get
the community involved. The community was
desperate and so advocacy and getting that strength of many people. We’d set up forums, presentations, got the information out on Youtube to try and explain why that
work was so important. So you’re going to need
to get the Vietnamese deaf community together
and explain why Vietnamese sign language is so important. Get the input and the
agreement from the community. Write a position paper
and once that is done you can bring that to the
Ministry of Education. Once you have everybody’s input. Then you can have that official meeting and start the negotiations from there. – [Interpreter] I’ll be
waiting for the interpreter to complete their interpretation. – [Interpreter] Unfortunately
we’ve run out of time. I know that everyone is very
curious with more questions but our panelists will be here throughout the inauguration week, take
an opportunity when you see them to ask them questions. Unfortunately we can’t
share our whole community here today but they
are here for this week, they’re here to share
their thoughts, feel free to get in touch with them and talk with them while they’re here. I do want to thank
Sorrenson Communications for their sponsorship, and during this week, during our event, we have a lot that’s going on on campus and really out in the greater world. We have our hashtag Bobbi for GU, and you’ll see this on
the internet, social media so when you take pictures,
consider using that hashtag when you post it. I would like to invite
President Bobbi Cordano up to the stage for some closing words. I saw that she was taking some notes so hopefully she will
share her thoughts with us. (light applause) – [Interpreter] Panelists,
I have to applaud you, what an inspirational
message you shared with us. Truly it’s an opportunity
now for us to try and summarize some of what I’ve
learned from all of you and your comments this afternoon. First, to understand that
leaders come from all over the world, as represented by all of you. Each of you coming from
different parts of the world as leaders. We’re honored to have you
here sharing your wisdom with us and thank you
very much for doing so. It certainly means a lot. I’m also very impressed that each of you mentioned that leadership
began within yourselves first. That complaining about
the situation had to shift to an active mode of looking
to learn, develop curiosity, and then from that taking
in external knowledge and perspectives from those around you and adding that to your own understanding and your development of
how you see the world and your leadership. You remind us as well of
the power of the family and the communities around us, that we together as a
community with our families are very strong. And it’s that that ties us together. That we take our knowledge
and share it with others, and through doing so create an even larger and more cohesive community. That we can expand and
learn from one another and yet always come
back as a unified group. I’m deeply moved to hear your
comments about Gallaudet. I think you represent or
remind us that although we are situated here in the United States, we are a beacon, and we
reach people not only in the DC area, in the region,
in the United States, but people around the world, and we pass that torch from
one person to the next, as we share knowledge that’s
gained here with others. In our 152 year history,
we’ve realized the importance of continuing on with this
legacy into the future. We are the only one of it’s kind. And I look to others to join
with us as we share knowledge and create leaders throughout the world, so that there’s not just one Gallaudet, but other places like
Gallaudet around the world that disseminates knowledge
to others in their respective countries and that
therein lies our challenge. As President of Gallaudet,
I invite each of you to join our conversations,
understanding better how we can impart our knowledge to others, and how we can add others
to this understanding. You talked about the importance of Youtube and how that’s a mechanism
for sharing knowledge and how we can use that as a vehicle for sharing information in our
respective languages with others. You have begun a beautiful conversation through your remarks today. Understanding better how
Gallaudet may become more global and reaching out to all of
the different sign languages communities that are
sued throughout the world as we come together
unified as a community. It’s not only an opportunity
but as well a challenge and I thank to you, to each of you for sharing with us your knowledge today. I look forward to
opportunities to interact with you and I very much enjoyed
having you on the panel today. Thank you so much and congratulations. – [Interpreter] We’ll wrap up the program. Thank you all for attending. Please do join us in any dialogue and make sure you use
our hashtag, bobbi4gu. Please take the opportunity to interact with our panelists throughout the week. Thank you very much.

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