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Two CIDP Alumni Complete EMPOWER Fellowship Program & Visit AU

(from left) Ms. Maya Aguilar, Mr. Raphael Domingo, Ms. Mackie Calbay, and Ms. Kerri West at the United States State DepartmentCIDP Master's program alumni Mr. Raphael “Raphy” Domingo and Ms. Mackie Calbay were invited to the first-ever EMPOWER conference hosted by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on 22 May 2013 at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.  The conference featured 34 disability rights advocates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Tajikistan who have just completed the month-long EMPOWER fellowship exchange program.

IDPP Associate Director Ms. Kerri West and Assistant Director of Communication Ms. Maya Aguilar also attended the EMPOWER conference and congratulated Mr. Domingo, Ms. Calbay, and the rest of the EMPOWER fellows on completing the fellowship program.

Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. State Department Ms. Judith Heumann gave the conference’s opening remarks, followed by a showing of “Lives Worth Living”, a documentary that follows the evolution of disability rights in America. A panel discussion followed the screening, featuring Marca Bristo, CEO of Access Living; David Morrissey, Executive Director of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities; and John D. Wodatch, former Chief of the Disability Rights Section in the Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The conference ended with two roundtable discussions, during which EMPOWER fellows discussed international disability rights issues and their work experiences in the U.S.

Mr. Raphael Domingo and Ms. Mackie Calbay meet with COTELCO/IDPP staff at SIS

The EMPOWER fellowship exchange program invites selected disability advocates from around the world to the U.S. to work with leading disability advocacy organizations on issues such as inclusive education, disability advocacy, and capacity building. Mr. Domingo and Ms. Calbay performed their fellowship with Discovering Deaf Worlds in Rochester, New York, where they received training on organizational development, fund development, strategic planning, and advocacy. During their stay in the U.S., the CIDP alumni also visited IDPP partner National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology; Syracuse University; and their alma mater American University.

Their visit to American University is the first in-person campus visit from CIDP alumni, which included meeting with SIS Dean Dr. James Goldgeier, COTELCO/IDPP staff, and a campus tour.

Mr. Domingo and Ms. Calbay entered the CIDP Master's program as part of the inaugural student cohort of ten in the summer of 2011, which included four more students from the Philippines. Both earned their CIDP Master's degree in December 2012.

Mr. Domingo is co-founder of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf. He is the current adviser of the Federation and two other national Deaf organizations. He also works as the Coordinator of the Education Access for the Deaf at the Center for Education Access and Development of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines.

Raphy Domingo and Mackie Calbay with COTELCO/IDPP staff outside of AU SIS Building (group photo)Ms. Calbay currently works as the Deaf Advocacy Program Coordinator for the Center of Partnership and Development under the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies of De La Salle- College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines. She volunteers on the Executive Board of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Youth Section, Deaf Advisory Council of Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters, and the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Sustainability Sub-Committee working with Discovering Deaf Worlds.

Congratulations, Raphy and Mackie!

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