Dr. Michael Kemp: Obituary from His Family

Posted on 1 December 2008. Filed under: Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, News, signed languages | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Gallaudet University Provost’s Office has released the following obituary for Dr. Mike Kemp. People who wish to send condolences to his family will want to take note of the contact information provided at the end; condolences should please be sent directly to the family, NOT via We Can Do. I had reported on the news of Kemp’s loss over the weekend. I know that he will be missed not only by the Gallaudet University community but also by the Deaf communities of Vietnam and Thailand.

December 1, 2008

Dear Campus Community:

The family of Dr. Michael Kemp, who passed away last week, has written the following obituary in celebration of Dr. Kemp’s life and accomplishments:

Dr. W. Michael Kemp, 60, a professor in the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, died on November 24, 2008 in Alexandria, Virginia.

William Michael Kemp was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to William and Marie Kemp. Deaf from birth, he graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School. Mike, as he was known, received his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1971 from Gallaudet University, and his master’s degree in deaf education in 1975 from William McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College). He earned the degree of Doctor of Education in higher education administration in 1986 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His dissertation was titled “A Comparison of the Simultaneous Method Evaluation and the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI).”

Dr. Kemp taught American Sign Language for 35 years, the last 31 at Gallaudet University. He served for 12 years as chair of three different academic departments before stepping down to focus on teaching and consulting. His main area of interest and expertise was training people to communicate gesturally to prepare for travel abroad.

Since 1980, he had trained sign language instructors throughout the United States and the world, in the Far East, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, the Middle East, and Europe. He taught at the University of Puerto Rico, the University of British Columbia, Douglas College (in British Columbia), Thailand’s Ratchasuda College, and Vietnam’s Teacher Training Center.

For the last 10 years, Dr. Kemp worked extensively in Thailand and Vietnam with groups of deaf students in the Sign Language Teacher Training Program. He made frequent trips to serve as a visiting professor at the Cao Dang Su Pham (Teaching Training Center) in Dong Nai Province, near Ho Chi Minh City. Last month, Dr. Kemp was invited as a technical expert on information and communication access at the “Gathering Inputs and Recommendations for the Development of the National Law on Disability” conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dr. Kemp received a research stipend award from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research to attend the 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf in 1995 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He also received the T. J. O’Rourke Memorial Award from the American Sign Language Teachers Association in 2002 in recognition of his international work, and the Teacher of the Year Award in 2008 from the Alpha Sigma Pi Fraternity.

Dr. Kemp was a member of the advisory board for the interpreter training program at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale campus. He was a member of the National and Virginia Associations of the Deaf. He enjoyed photography, reading, traveling, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Dr. Kemp is survived by a son, William M. Kemp, Jr., of Fairfax, Virginia; William Jr.’s mother, Dr. Vicki J. Shank, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; his wife of 13 years, Joan Kemp; and two step-daughters, Jennifer Yost Ortiz and her husband, Anthony, and Jamie Yost, a staff interpreter with Gallaudet Interpreting Service, and her husband, Raymond Merritt, a professor in the Department of Biology; and two grandchildren, Zion and Zeke Ortiz. He is also survived by a brother, Thomas Kemp, his wife, Linda, and two nephews, Dan and Jack.

There will be two memorial services. The first will be private, for family and close friends. The second will take place in early 2009 on the Gallaudet University campus, and will be open to the community. The date for this service will be announced at a later time, as will information about memorial contributions.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Kemp’s son, Bill Kemp, at 13112 Watchwood Lane, Fairfax, VA 22315, and to his wife, Joan Kemp, P.O. Box 4228, Alexandria, VA 22303.

If there are any obituaries for Dr. Kemp that have been written by members of the Deaf communities in Vietnam or Thailand, or that are otherwise centered on his international work in developing nations, I would be interested in publishing them at We Can Do. Or, if these have already been posted elsewhere, then I would like to link to them. Please contact me by leaving a comment below with your email address in the email address field, or send me an email at ashettle[at]patriot.net (substitute the @ at sign @ for [at] to create my address).

A biography of Dr. Kemp is available at http://deafstudies.gallaudet.edu/Faculty-Staff/ASL_and_Deaf_Studies/Kemp_Mike.html. A former student of Dr. Kemp at Gallaudet created a video memorial for Kemp, presented in American Sign Language, at http://deaffilmblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/in-memory-of-dr-mike-kemp-re-defining-d.html.

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[Published at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do)]

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REPORT: Personal Mobility, Accessibility for Disabled People in South East Europe

Posted on 20 August 2008. Filed under: Blind, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Housing, Human Rights, Inclusion, Mobility Impariments, Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Countries that have chosen to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are now required to protect the right of people with disabilities to personal mobility; and to an accessible environment. But disabled people in the South-Eastern countries of Europe, such as Kosovo, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Hungary, are often denied the right simply to move from one place to another on the same basis as other people in their society. They lack mobility aids such as prosthestic devices, wheelchairs, and crutches; public buildings, and even their own homes, are not accessible to them; and neither is public transportation.

People who wish to learn more about the conditions that limit the mobility of people with disabilities in South East Europe–and what can be done to improve their situation–can consult a report entitled “Free movement of people with disabilities in south east Europe: an inaccessible right?” (PDF format, 1 Mb) This report addresses the mobility and accessibility needs of people with mobility impairments; people who are blind or have vision impairments; people with intellectual disabilities; and deaf people. The 124-page report was published by Handicap International in 2006.

The first part of the report discusses the current situation, and barriers, faced by people with various disabilities in South East Europe. The second part describes good practices that have successfully made the environment more accessible for people with disabilities throughout the region. The third part discusses the importance of awareness raising; the laws and policies needed to improve the situation; the need for training in universal design; and the importance of including people with disabilities in planning all new construction. The report closes with a series of recommendations.

The full report can be downloaded for free in

People interested in creating accessible environments, and in the principles of universal design, may also be interested in learning about a free, on-line book on Universal Design and Visitability.

We Can Do learned about this report by exploring the newest resources to be posted at the AskSource.info database on disability issues; health issues; and development.

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This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. Other sites may be plagiarizing this post without permission.

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NEWS: San Marino to Ratify Intl Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 23 February 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The RatifyNow web site reports that the small, Southern European country of San Marino may be ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as early as today, February 22, 2008. This means that the CRPD would now require only three more countries before it can go into full legal force. Watch the RatifyNow web site for official confirmation of San Marino’s ratification. Read the RatifyNow FAQ to learn more about the process for ratifying the CRPD and what the CRPD means for disabled people around the world.

San Marino, with its population of 29,000 people, is in a small enclave within Italy.

RatifyNow is an organization working to maximize the number of countries that sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD.

Most of the text in this post is taken from RatifyNow.org with permission of author.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere else, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people.

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JOB POST: Secretary General, Rehabilitation International

Posted on 20 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Inclusion, Jobs & Internships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Michael Fox, president of Rehabilitation International, has been circulating the following announcement; note that the application deadline is March 28, 2008:

As advised at the RI 2007 Assembly in Djerba, Tunisia – our Secretary General Tomas Lagerwall has decided to leave RI later this year – and return to Sweden after a seven year term with RI.

Accordingly, and on behalf of the RI Selection Committee, I am pleased to invite submissions from applicants worldwide for this important role of RI Secretary General – as following details and information.


Michael Fox
RI President
Sydney phone 612 6552 9333

4 February 2008

RI Secretary General – New York

RI was established in 1922, and is a well recognised and respected international disability and rehabilitation advocacy organisation. RI is a global cross-disability and cross-disciplinary NGO providing a unique meeting ground for participants in a field that has disciplinary and ideological opinions and differences. RI has well-established partnerships with the UN and its agencies as well as other international and regional organisations in the field of disability. Further information on RI and our UN and global networks are available at www.riglobal.org.

RI is a democratic organisation governed by an Assembly – representing RI member organisations in almost 100 countries. The RI Annual Assembly is a global forum to discuss developments in disability issues and general policies and programs of the organisation. The RI Executive Committee provides strategic direction, formulates and considers policies and oversees the budget of the organisation. The RI EC consists of 22 members composed of the RI President, President-elect or Past President, Treasurer and representatives of RI Regions and expert Commissions.

RI is a matrix organisation, with regional leadership in Africa, the Arab Region, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America as well as thematic Commissions in particular fields of expertise, to assist in developing and expanding program activities in accordance with RI strategic goals. The RI Foundation was established in 2006 and provides the basis for significant growth and development of the RI agenda worldwide.

RI and its members are involved in a range of advocacy projects and activities to promote the RI goal of advancing and achieving the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities worldwide. The next RI World Congress is scheduled in Quebec City, Canada during August 2008. RI also works toward increasing international collaboration and advocates for policies and legislation recognising the rights of people with disabilities and their families, including the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

RI Secretary General
RI is managed by a full time Secretariat in our New York City head office. The Secretary General is the CEO of the organisation and our current incumbent has successfully managed this role since 2001.

We now require the services of a resourceful, experienced and dynamic candidate for the role of RI Secretary General. There will be a suitable and agreed transition period for the successful candidate.


DUTY STATION New York, United States of America

ACCESSIBILITY RI New York offices are ADA accessible

Responsibilities and Competencies of Secretary General
The responsibilities and competencies of the successful applicant will include

* Implementation of RI policies, strategies and programs as determined by the RI General Assembly and RI EC – and as agreed with, and in close consultation with, the President, Executive Committee and RI Foundation Board

* Effective management and implementation of the RI Strategic Plan – with balanced commitment to RI Global activities and development of the RI Foundation

* Demonstrate professionalism, judgement, technical awareness and leadership

* Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to operate effectively across organisational boundaries – with ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds

* Solicit input by genuinely valuing other peoples ideas and expertise – and willing to learn from others

* Ability to operate in a changing environment with innovation and professionalism

* Take the lead with respect to the preparation and implementation of the work program, ensuring that resources are utilised effectively and prudently to implement activities in accordance with the RI Mission, budget and available human and financial resources

* Monitor and review the work program and budget by conducting regular analysis to assess progress of actual work versus the program

* Define requirements and work with system units with respect to improving budget reporting systems and cost effective utilisation of program resources

* Supervise and provide guidance on financial administration and management information issues and practices to Board members, in conjunction with the Finance Committee

* Support, manage, travel and organise RI events as required

* Supervise staff at RI New York and other locations as required

* Provide guidance and leadership to RI staff

* Promote RI membership growth in conjunction with the Membership Committee

* Oversee work related to billing and receipt of income from various services, monitoring and evaluation of individual contractors for services

* Represent RI at international, regional and national meetings related to disability rights and related issues – including IDA, the International Disability Alliance

* Collaborate with relevant organisations including United Nations, World Bank, DPOs, foundations, the private sector, NGOs and civil society at large

* Participate in inter-agency consultations, meetings, and conferences related to disability rights and services issues

* Organise and participate in expert group meetings, workshops and seminars on disability rights and services as required

* Provide advisory services to and collaborate with UN agencies, governments, DPOs, NGOs, regional groups, private sector groups and other stakeholders on disability rights, services and related issues


Education – A minimum of first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience.

Work Experience – A minimum of 5 years progressively responsible experience in change management, human resources and financial / budget operations, with relevant professional experience in international, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

The RI Secretary General role calls for very good administrative, diplomacy and management skills. First hand disability related experience is preferred.

Languages – Fluency in oral and written English is required. Fluency and / or working knowledge of other languages is desirable.

Other Skills – Ability to use relevant computer technology and software.

A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered – subject to professional experience, family situation and other criteria as may be applicable. Immigration procedures can be negotiated as required.

Selection Process
Applicants will be short listed on the basis of academic credentials, experience, availability and other relevant factors. Additional information may be requested from candidates.

Short listed applicants will be invited to come to New York or elsewhere as appropriate, for an interview with representatives of the RI Selection Committee. Candidates will be interviewed on various criteria including related knowledge, skills, abilities, personality and availability.

The intention is for the new RI Secretary General to be appointed by June 2008.

How To Apply
Interested persons from any nationality worldwide are invited to apply for this important position. This invitation to apply for the role of RI Secretary General is open to everyone.

Detailed responses including Resumes / CVs, and a minimum of two written references, are to be submitted by Friday 28 March 2008. Submissions can be sent by email, post of fax to

Marca Bristo, RI North America Vice President

c/o Access Living
115 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610 USA

Email mbristo@aol.com or
Fax 1 312 640 2140

All applications will be confidential to the Selection Committee and RI Executive Committee, until the successful candidate is announced.

We look forward to your application


Michael Fox AM
RI President
Sydney Australia

We Can Do retrieved this announcement from the email discussion list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD). Individuals may join their mailing list for free. Please note that interested parties should contact Rehabilitation International directly, not We Can Do.

Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (https://wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.

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