Delighted by Letters of Thanks from The Nippon Foundation’s Scholarship Recipients [2020/03/23]
Every year, I am delighted to receive hundreds of letters of thanks from students around the world who are studying under scholarship programs established by The Nippon Foundation at different institutions.
Here, I would like to share with you excerpts from letters sent to me recently by three deaf exchange students now studying at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., in the United States, which is the premier institution of learning, teaching and research for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Olufemi Ige from Nigeria, who is enrolled in the Master of Public Administration and International Development program at Gallaudet, wrote that “words cannot sufficiently convey how immensely grateful I am for this scholarship funded by you and your foundation which gave me the rare privilege of coming to the United States to receive quality education in the world number one liberal art university established to provide quality education in sign language to the deaf and hard-of-hearing people.”
He said his career goal is to establish a non-profit organization that will work “to promote disability-inclusive public policies; advocate for access to social services, disability rights and human rights and empowerment, ultimately to reduce economic poverty and improving the lives and social-economic welfare of people with disabilities especially the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Nigeria.”
Raphael (“Rafa” for short) Domingo from the Philippines is pursuing a Ph.D. in linguistics at Gallaudet. “There is no sign linguistics program in my country, but thanks to The Nippon Foundation’s World Deaf Leadership Scholarship program, I intend to change that unfortunate situation and help my fellow deaf Filipinos gain an education,” he said. “There is no other place like Gallaudet University, and the knowledge I acquire here can help me develop educational opportunities not only for deaf Filipinos but for deaf people in other developing countries.” When he graduates from Gallaudet, he will become the first deaf Filipino Ph.D.
Jorge Andrés Martínez Castiblanco from Colombia, is pursuing his Master of Arts degree in linguistics. “My goal after graduating is to return to work at the INSOR (National Institute for the Deaf), a strong advocate for Colombia’s deaf community, and apply everything I learn at Gallaudet to promote understanding and respect for the linguistic diversity of deaf Colombians,” he said.
“The scholarship is also significant to me because it is helping me become a model for others like me who are Latin American or Colombian deaf people. I want to inspire and encourage them to become scholars, and build on my work in improving opportunities for success through education and job training,” he added.
The Nippon Foundation has established two scholarship programs at Gallaudet University for deaf and hard-of-hearing students from developing countries−the Sasakawa International Scholarship created in 1993 and the World Deaf Leadership Scholarship in 2003.
It is my sincere hope that they will continue to enjoy themselves studying at Gallaudet, and that when they return to their respective countries after graduation, they will support the next generation of deaf and hard-of-hearing people with the intention of creating a society in which those individuals have equal opportunities, make their own choices for their lives and are able to participate in society.