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IDPP for the ASEAN Region Launched in Bangkok

IDPP Signing Ceremony group photoBANGKOK, 3 April 2011 — The Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) for the ASEAN Region will be formally established on 4 April 2011 in support of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ vision of a Socio-Cultural Community and a Southeast Asia where “its mountains, rivers and seas no longer divide us, but link us together.” “I have encouraged and supported this idea since its inception,” said Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN. The Signing Ceremony to launch the institute will be held on 4 April 2011 at the Salaya Campus of Mahidol University in Bangkok.

Developing the IDPP was a dream of The Nippon Foundation, which amongst its many other projects has supported people with disabilities in the Southeast Asia region over many years. In pursuit of this dream, The Nippon Foundation initiated a project concept in 2009, formed a “Dream Team” to advise the project,
and a “Core Team” to manage the project. “The IDPP can serve as a regional resource to governments and society in fostering public policies that enable people with disability to compete on par with their non-disabled peers,” said Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation.

The IDPP is being launched in collaboration with Mahidol University, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) at the National University of Singapore; the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC; and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester in NY. IDPP is supported by the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO) at American
University and Syracuse University; the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) in Bangkok; and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).

IDPP is the world’s first virtual graduate institute focused on the complex intersection of disability and public policy in the ASEAN Region and will provide unparalleled opportunities for advanced academic studies, executive education, outreach and collaborative research for students, faculty and staff with and without disabilities. “Our vision is to build a network of outstanding universities from all 10 ASEAN countries which uses accessible cyberlearning approaches to enable students with mobility, visual, and auditory impairments to become leaders in the public, private and NGO sectors,” said Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn, Dean and Executive Director of the IDPP. “Fifteen students per year from the ASEAN region in each of these three categories will be awarded full fellowships provided by The Nippon Foundation to study in the IDPP,” says Dr. Jim DeCaro, Professor and Dean Emeritus of NTID.

The IDPP will offer a Master's of International Affairs in Comparative and International Disability Policy. The institute brings together an international faculty of experts to prepare future leaders in disability and public policy. All courses offered by the IDPP will be taught in English. A two-week face-to-face residency for all incoming degree candidates will be held from 18-29 July 2011. The IDPP is expected to begin accepting applications from its Web site on 9 May 2011 with a deadline of 31 May 2011 for the 2011-2012 academic year.