Gallaudet University forms collaborations with university, advocacy organization in Panama

Image: At the Gallaudet-UDELAS Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony March 19 in Panama City, Panama.

At the Gallaudet-UDELAS Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony March 19 in Panama City, Panama.

Image: At the Gallaudet-IFARHU Memorandum of Agreement signing Ceremony March 21 in Panama City, Panama.

At the Gallaudet-IFARHU Memorandum of Agreement signing Ceremony March 21 in Panama City, Panama.

Gallaudet University is pleased to announce it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with The Republic of Panama’s Instituto para la Formación y Aprovechamiento de Recursos Humanos (IFARHU) in Panama City to facilitate the opportunity for Panamanian professionals to pursue graduate studies at Gallaudet.

IFARHU offers programs for development in technical training and the rational use of human resources in the Republic of Panama, as a means to increase economic and social development.

Established in 1864, Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university in which all programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.

A ceremony was held on March 21 at the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel in Panama City and was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Panama Jonathan Farrar, National Secretary for Disabilities in Panama Ramon Aleman, as well as other dignitaries. The idea for the establishment of the agreement resulted from a 2009 visit by Director Luzcando to Gallaudet’s Washington, D.C. campus.

The collaboration between IFARHU and Gallaudet allows for four scholarships to be given annually to Panamanian citizens for admission into the university’s graduate school. In addition, IFARHU will promote the current graduate degree programs offered at Gallaudet on its webpage, educational fairs, and other cultural and academic events.

“Education is critical to the advancement of the worldwide deaf community and it is the method by which we show the world the capabilities of deaf people, challenge perceptions, and foster open dialogue,” said Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz. “Our Panamanian alumni will leave Gallaudet well-prepared to make indelible impacts in their home country and around the globe.”

Separately, on March 19, President Hurwitz signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Universidad Especializada de las Américas (UDELAS) President Berta Torrijos de Arosemena in Panama City. UDELAS is a university which facilitates access to educational and social development opportunities for Panamanian citizens and trains professionals who serve the needs of people with disabilities and at social risk in Panama, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The MOA outlines a framework for academic collaboration between Gallaudet and UDELAS which includes the creation of a Gallaudet-UDELAS International Center, an annual conference on deaf education, joint research projects, training activities for teachers, interpreters, and families of deaf individuals, and the open exchange of information, publications, and documentation.

“At Gallaudet, we believe cross-cultural experiences are essential in creating well-rounded individuals,” said President Hurwitz. “This collaboration is an opportunity for Gallaudet to work with deaf and hard of hearing students in Panama, Latin America, and the Caribbean to expand their educational opportunities while offering Gallaudet students and faculty the chance to broaden their horizons as well.”

The Gallaudet-UDELAS MOA signing ceremony was held at the UDELAS School of Health and Integral Rehabilitation and attended by Ambassador Farrar, representatives from two Panamanian advocacy groups – La Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (SENCYT) and Servicio Nacional de la Discapacidad (SENDIS), and members of the Panamanian deaf community.

Also at the ceremony, Ambassador Farrar announced the U.S. Embassy in Panama successfully applied for and was awarded a grant from the State Department Public Diplomacy Innovation Fund as part of President Obama’s program “100,000 Strong in the Americas.” The Gallaudet-UDELAS collaboration will receive the $100,000 grant.

“I am extremely happy to announce that we are committed to this initiative that will directly support the President’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas project, and that’s why we will support this great cause with $100,000," said Ambassador Farrar.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.                             

Kaitlin Luna, Coordinator of Media and Public Relations
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