World Deaf Leadership
Name: Benjamin Dana Diara
Field of Study: Government and Deaf Education with a minor in Linguistics
I am Benjamin Dana Diarra. I am from Bamako, Mali, which is located in West Africa. I came to Gallaudet in the fall of 2010 to study English as a Second Language at ELI (English Language Institute) because my first language is French. I am majoring in Government and Deaf Education, with a minor in Linguistics, which will help me to realize my future goal of establishing a broad-based Deaf Education Program in Mali when I return. I expect to graduate in 2015.
Upon returning home to Mali, my plan is to work in the Malian parliament or or other government establishment to:
1. Advocate for the rights of the Deaf and others with disabilities.
2. To establish a high school for the Deaf.
3. To develop a comprehensive dictionary and materials on Malian Sign language to preserve it, and to make LaSiMa (Malian Sign Language) a required curriculum policy in all Deaf schools.
I am profoundly grateful to the Nippon Foundation and Gallaudet University for providing me this great opportunity to pursue my lifelong goals to engage and support the Deaf community in Mali in our struggle for better education, work, and social access, and to preserve Malian Sign Language.