Welcome message and program overview from Dr. Audrey Cooper, IDMA Associate Professor & Program Director 

The International Development Master of Arts Degree Program (IDMA) prepares students to advocate, design, implement, monitor and evaluate social change activities in collaboration with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing people, and people with disabilities, at local, national, and international levels. IDMA coursework provides practical experience examining legal and social policy frameworks, political and economic conditions, sociocultural and language-centered values and rights, and other features of contemporary life that contribute to or impede social participation and social justice, with an emphasis on:

i) Theories, methods, and strategies of Deaf-led international development.

ii) Examination of micro- and macropolitical issues of development, especially institutional structures and forces impacting development processes (e.g., class, gender, language, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality).

iii) Collaborative project and program design—especially barriers and opportunities related to signed language usage, rights and policies.

iv) Participatory project and program models, sustainability models, and monitoring and evaluation practices that build on signed languages as human assets and other available human resources.

v) supervised practicum and internship experiences in federal agencies, international non-governmental organizations, community-based non- and for-profit international development organizations.

vi) Experience with qualitative and quantitative approaches to conducting and reporting research.

Through these activities, students gain a strong grounding in a broad and diverse range of leadership activities carried out by Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people, and people with disabilities and tools for addressing inequalities in diverse social and political-economic contexts. Upon graduation, IDMA graduates will possess the knowledge and expertise to:

a) analyze a set of conditions;

b) design and collaboratively implement policies and practices for improving quality of life within and across societies, especially with respect to signed language communities;

c) evaluate the processes and outcomes of such activities;

d) make recommendations to enhance project and program efficacy, advance policy reform, and engage in social justice advocacy related to emerging social concerns.

IDMA Events and Community Engagement


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IDMA'S Annual Deaf Leadership in International Development Panel





IDMA Graduate Student Panels



IDMA Community and Partnering Events


  • 2016 The Mask You Live In
  • 2018 Global Disability Movements Film Fest
  • 2019 United Nations Association of The United States of America - Info Session
  • Deaf-Led Disaster Resilience Series

    The Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) and Gallaudet University hosted a three-part event series titled, “Deaf-Led Disaster Resilience”.

    Series description: Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction is a growing field of practice, yet deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, and deaf-disabled people have been widely marginalized from everyday disaster communication, as well as disaster management training and leadership roles. GADRA and Gallaudet University are partnering on an event series to draw attention to, and open a set of conversations about, deaf people and disasters. The series includes a webinar on disaster action by deaf-led organizations, an expert panel on deaf leadership in international disaster policy, and interviews with deaf youth leaders about disaster action. Data, ideas, and experiences shared during the three events will be used to inform future initiatives and response efforts. Click here to learn more about each event and to access the recordings.