Deafblind International: The World Association Promoting Services for Deafblind People ADBN Conference, Lund Sweden November 2012 What is DbI Founded over 30 years ago, Deafblind International (DbI) is the world association promoting services for deafblind people. DbI brings together professionals, researchers, families, deafblind people and administrators to raise awareness of the unique disability of deafblindness. Central to the work is to support the development of services to enable a good quality of life for deafblind children and adults of all ages. Early History of DbI The roots of the organization go back to the 1950s, with collaboration, mostly by mail, among educators from various international organizations and schools, including: Condover Hall School for the Blind near Shrewsbury, UK, the School for the Blind in Hannover Germany, the Institute for Defectology in Moscow USSR, St. Michielsgestel Institute for the Deaf in The Netherlands, Perkins Schools for the Blind in the USA and several schools located in the Nordic countries. In 1962 this informal group first met for its first formal conference titled “Teaching Deaf-Blind Children”. Forty-one people attended this first conference, hosted by Condover Hall School. Attendees were from the UK, USA, USSR, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and Turkey. Early History of DbI (continued) Four subsequent conferences or seminars were organized to assist these educators and professionals to discuss common methodologies for the education of children born during the rubella pandemic of the 1960’s: • Denmark (1965) – hosted by the State Institute for the Deaf, Kalundborg • The Netherlands (1968) – hosted by St. Michielsgestel Institute for the Deaf • The USA (1971) – hosted by Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Mass. • The UK (1974) – hosted by Condover Hall School for the Blind These early conferences/seminars were organised under the aegis of the International Council for the Education of the Visually Handicapped (later changed to ICEVI) which had created a special interest section for professionals interested in deafblindness education. Early History of DbI (continued) It was during the 6th formal conference that this group decided to form their own organization. The International Association for the Education of the Deafblind (IAEDB) was officially born in 1976 during the conference held at North Rocks Central School for Blind Children (near Sydney), Australia. Keith Watkins from Australia became its first Chairman and John McInnes from Canada became Vice Chairman. The aims of the early organization were clearly defined: 1) promote the education of the deaf-blind throughout the world and 2) promote world deaf-blind conferences. Organization and Early Activities of IAEDB IAEDB started out in 1976 with 42 founding members from 10 countries. By 1986 it had grown to 197 members representing 24 countries. The Executive structure included a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary Treasurer and International Newsletter Editor. Each country, with members, appointed one to sit as a Member of the Executive Committee. Coordinators / Regional Officers were established around the world to assist with the dissemination of information about deaf-blind education. The following individuals were designated as Regional officers, as reported in a magazine in 1988: • • • • • • • Oceania – Mrs. Heather Hewitt (Australia) Central and South America – Mrs. N.T. Louriero (Brazil) Scandinavia – Jes Kryger (Denmark) Asia – Ms. Baroz Vasha (India) Africa - Ms. G. Sperber (Kenya) Europe – Miss L. De Leuw (Netherlands) North America – Mrs. R. Wallenstein (USA) Organization and Early Activities of IAEDB (continued) A Secretariat was appointed to help manage the affairs of the organization. Rodney Clark from Sense UK became the first Secretary of IAEDB. Rodney Clark The IAEDB Newsletter was published beginning in 1977. It was renamed in 1988 as Deaf-Blind Education – The Journal of the International Association of the Education of the Deaf-Blind. Organizing World and European Conferences continued to be IAEDB’s major focus through the next two decades. Towards Organizational Change • By the late 1980’s, it was becoming evident that rapid changes were happening in the deafblind field. While deafblind education continued to be important, service delivery to the full spectrum of people with deafblindness rose up on the priority lists of the growing list of members. • Parents were wishing a greater voice in the organization as were deafblind people. • Research initiatives were taking place in various Universities. • Various specialists were looking for the means to collaborate with each other to develop curricula, explore theories of communication, and discuss and present the latest research. • Programs were expanding worldwide at an accelerating rate and administrators wished to discuss issues with each other around organizational staffing and budgets etc. • What was becoming urgent then was that IAEDB needed to become a more truly worldwide organization better able to represent these broader interests including its initial reason for being – education. • It was agreed that a new constitution to build upon the one from 1991 would better serve the organization to function better for the future. Towards Organizational Change (continued) After a number of years of task forces and Strategic Plans, Deafblind International was officially born at the world meeting in Lisbon Portugal in 1999, prior to the 12th World Conference. The membership agreed that the name Deafblind International or DbI more accurately represented the array of issues and services occurring near the beginning of the millennium. The organizational structure was reinvented, recognizing that it is essentially an organization with a strong networking sub-structure, in which people of common interests meet and interact more frequently between conferences. The new governance structure was established, in which the former IAEDB Executive Committee was dissolved and a Council (now called Board) and a Management Committee put in its place. A new fee structure was established for small and large corporate members, resulting in greatly increased income for the organization. This increased revenue has resulted in a much greater array of activities and efforts that DbI can support, including a modern, state-of-the-art magazine (DbI Review and a web page www.deafblindinternational.org). The stage was now set for common interest groups of individuals to come together to form Networks. Deafblind International in 2012 Like all organizations, DbI (formerly IAEDB) established a set of guiding principles necessary to formally permit the organization to establish its structure, governance and implement its activities. This guiding principles are set out in the constitution. The Constitution • DbI and its former name IAEDB has worked under a formal constitution since its initial document was produced in 1991. • While becoming DbI in 1999, a revised constitution was developed to address the mandate of the new organization, it’s new structure and governance. Through amendments, revisions were made (and continued be made) to update this “living document”. • The most recent update to the constitution occurred in 2009 when DbI was formally registered as a legal association in the Netherlands. Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) • The objects stated in the current iteration of the constitution show little change from its earlier versions: – To promote the proper provision of services to deafblind people through international cooperation; – This broad objective is to be achieved by: • promoting and improving the acknowledgement and awareness of deafblindness • supporting the rights of deafblind people and promoting their opportunities • stimulating the development of networks for the cooperation of professionals • improving opportunities for deafblind people for education and widespread participation in society • promoting, on a worldwide scale, communication among deafblind people, experts and organisations • promoting the provision of services to deafblind people to allow them to live their lives independently; hence improving their quality of life • improving the quality of provision of services to deafblind people by promoting research, development, training and policies leading to good practice Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) As well as the objects, the constitution establishes the framework for the rest of its activities as follows: Governance The organization’s management structure includes an active Board (formerly called the Council) which guides its direction, and a Management Committee which takes care of the day to day activities of the organization. All members of the Management Committee and Council serve on a volunteer basis. The Board is responsible for advising and managing the organization and meets once a year. It comprises representatives from the large and small corporate members and networks. It considers and discusses all matters related to the strategic direction and operation of DbI in pursuing its objectives. The Board is comprised of no more than 35 members. A Management Committee is appointed by the Board to undertake executive action. It comprises the elected officers - the President and two Vice Presidents; and the appointed officers – the Secretary, Treasurer, Information Officer and the Immediate Past President. The Board also has the opportunity to appoint additional members to ManCom. Presidents of IAEDB/DbI 1976-2012 Keith Watkins John McInnes Jacques Souriau Marjaana Suosalmi Australia (1976 – 1987) Canada (1987-1991) France (1991-1995) Finland (1995-1999) Michael Collins William Green Gillian Morbey USA (1999-2003) Italy (2003-2011) UK (2011-present) Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) Deafblind International in 2012 (continued) Membership DbI is a member driven organization. There are three types of memberships: Corporate, individual and library memberships. • Corporate memberships are classified as Large, Small and Mini. – Organizations paying fees of 3000 to 5000 Euros annually are eligible for large corporate membership status. – Organizations paying fees of 300 to 1500 Euros annually are eligible for small corporate membership status. – Those organizations qualifying under the World Bank designation are eligible for mini corporate membership status for annual fees of 100250 Euros. • Individual memberships are available for 100 Euros for a 4 year period. • Library memberships are available for 50 Euros annually. Membership (continued) Large Corporates: There are currently 12 large corporate members representing: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK (2) and USA. Small Corporates: There are currently 48 small corporate members representing: Argentina (2); Australia (5); Austria; Brazil; Canada (5); China Hong Kong; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark (5); Finland; Greece; Ireland; Israel; India; New Zealand; Norway (5); Russia; Singapore; Spain (2); Sweden; Switzerland (2); The Netherlands (4); UK; USA (2) and Venezuela. Mini Corporates: There are currently 2 mini corporate members representing: Nepal and Malawi. Membership (continued) Individual Memberships: There are currently 85 individual members representing: Australia (2); Austria; Belgium; Canada (17); Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic (3); Denmark; Finland (3); France (3); Germany (2);Guatemala (2); Hungary; India; Ireland; Italy (2); Japan (4); Malta; Netherlands (4); Norway (3); Portugal; Russia; Sweden; Switzerland; USA (14); UK (13). Library Memberships: There are currently 5 library memberships representing: Australia, Belgium, South Africa, UK, USA Membership (continued) Nomination Process • Every four years the DbI Board initiates a Nomination Process for the election of the President, Vice President(s) and members of the Board. • The Board consists of the President, two Vice Presidents, the immediate Past President and no more than 35 other members, of which no more than 15 are representatives of large corporate members. The remaining members (20) are elected as representatives from small corporate members (15) and representatives from DbI Networks (5). Other DbI Activities Conferences Organizing World and European Conferences has been a significant initiative since the beginning of the organization. Since the Conference in Australia in 1976, IAEDB/DbI has organized the following conferences: World • • • • • • 1980 – Hannover, Germany 1984 – New York, USA 1987 – Poitiers, France 1991 – Orebro, Sweden 1995 – Cordoba, Argentina 1999 – Lisbon, Portugal European • • • • • • • • 1986 1989 1993 1997 2001 2005 2009 2013 Bruges, Belgium Warwick, UK Potsdam, Germany Madrid, Spain Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands Presov, Slovakia Senigallia, Italy Lille, France 2003 – Mississauga, Canada 2007 – Perth, Australia 2011 – Sao Paulo, Brazil Other DbI Activities (continued) DbI Networks Networks are international groups of individual members and/or organisations, schools and institutions admitted by the Board from at least three countries that are mutually connected by language, culture, geographic location or objects, and subject to their terms of reference approved by the Board. The current Networks are: • Acquired Deafblindness Network (ADbN) • CHARGE Network • Communication Network • Employment Network • European Deafblind Network (EDbN) • Latin American Network • Rubella Network • Siblings Network • Social-Haptic Communication Network • Tactile Communication Network • Usher Study Group Networks Each network determines its own level of activity. Networks are required to provide reports to the Board and reports are printed in DbI Review. Many of the Networks meet during the DbI World and European Conferences. Three Networks, ADbN, Communications and Usher Study Group have organized special conferences/seminars over the years. ADbN Conferences: • • • • • • • • • 1994 - Hilversum, The Netherlands 1996 - Poitiers, France 1998 - Ancona, Italy 2002 - Zurich Switzerland 2004 - Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England 2006 - Groningen, The Netherlands 2008 - Bergen, Norway 2010 - Aalborg, Denmark 2012 - Lund, Sweden Networks (continued) Communication Network Seminars/Conferences • • • • • • • • • • • • 1993 - Poitiers, France 1996 - Paris (Suresnes), France 1998 - Paris (Suresnes), France 1999 - Paris (Suresnes), France 2000 - Vilnius, Lithuania 2001 - Paris, France 2002 - Gothenborg, Sweden 2003 - Dronninglund, Denmark (NUD) 2006 - Oslo, Norway 2008 - Leeds, UK 2009 - Senigallia, Italy 2010 - Paris (Suresnes), France Networks (continued) Other Network Conferences Usher Study Group • This working group has been holding meetings since 1985. • Recent organized Conferences/Seminars are as follows: – – – 2003 2007 2010 Pre Conference – 13th DbI, Mississauga, Canada Pre Conference – 14th DbI ,Perth, Australia Pre Conference – 8th ADbN, Aalborg, Denmark Tactile Communications • 2011 Pre Conference – 15th DbI, Sao Paulo, Brazil Roles The Secretariat • The organization has had a working secretariat since the early 1980’s. • The prime purpose of the Secretariat is to ensure the smooth running of the organization. The Secretary, who is appointed to the Management Committee, oversees all functions of the secretariat and is accountable to the Board. A partial list of secretariat functions includes: • Providing efficient and effective services to DbI Members • Coordinating the membership • Coordinating meetings of the Board, the Management Committee and the Annual General Meeting • Overseeing the process for determining the locations of DbI World and Regional Conferences including being the liaison between DbI and the host organization • Coordinating the nomination process for the election of officers and the Board • Liaison with members of the Board and the Management Committee Roles (continued) The following have served in the Secretary function for IAEDB/DbI: • • • • • T. Grunsell (Australia) Rodney Clark (Sense, UK) Richard Hawkes (Sense International, UK) Sumitra Mishra (Sense International India, Ahmedabad ) Elvira Edwards (Senses Foundation, Perth Australia) Roles (continued) The Information Function • The role of information has been recognized a key function within IAEDB/DbI since the beginning of the organization. • The Information Officer, who is appointed to the Management Committee, oversees all functions of the information program and is accountable to the Board. The IO is responsible for ensuring access to a range of high quality information for both members and others about deafblindness and services available internationally. Roles (continued) A partial list of the Information Officer functions includes: • As editor, coordinates all aspects of the production of two editions of DbI Review annually • Ensures the DbI website is current and reflects the activities of DbI • Provides information about deafblindness and services available upon request • Ensures DbI related information is available at conferences and workshops The following have served in the Information Officer (or editor) role over the years for IAEDB/DbI: • W. Zinger (Australia) • Paul Ennals (Sense UK) • Malcolm Matthews (Sense UK) • Eileen Boothroyd (Sense UK) • Stan Munroe (CDBA Canada) Roles (continued) The Treasurer • The Treasurer, who is appointed to the Management Committee, oversees all aspects of the organizations finances and is accountable to the Board. A partial list of the treasurer’s function includes: • Producing annual financial statements and budgets • Makes recommendations to the Board about the annual state of the finances The following have served in the Treasurer role over the years for IAEDB/DbI: • T. Grunsell (Australia) • Rodney Clark (Sense, UK) • Ton Visser (Royal Dutch Kentalis, Netherlands) • Ton Groot Zwaaftink (Royal Dutch Kentalis, Netherlands) Other Major Initiatives Strategic Planning • For the past decade there have been continuing efforts at developing a Strategic Plan to guide DbI towards achieving the objects set down in the Constitution. Like the constitution, the strategic plan is a “living document”. DbI Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015 Our Vision • To be the international association which promotes the awareness of deafblindness as a unique disability and to influence for appropriate services for deafblind people around the world. Our Purpose • To support professionals (such as educators, administrators, researchers, medical specialists etc.) families and deafblind people to raise awareness of deafblindness. Central to our work is to support the development of services to enable a good quality of life for deafblind children and adults of all ages. DbI Strategic Plan 2012 – 2015 (continued) Goals and Objectives • DbI will enhance organisational capacity to meet the needs of deafblind people: – To establish high quality management and administrative practices through The Board and the Management Committee (ManCom) with support from members – To develop a strong diverse inclusive international membership – To establish a constitution that is democratic and representative – To be an efficient and cost effective organization DbI Strategic Plan 2012 – 2015 (continued) • Influence the development of services for the benefit of deafblind people and their families around the world – To ensure the international recognition of deafblindness as a unique disability – To influence the development of services to improve the lives of people who are deafblind – To raise the awareness of DbI as an international organization advocating for people who are deafblind within the international structure of the UN/WHO/UNESCO and in collaboration with such international partners as WFDB, ICEVI and WBU DbI Strategic Plan 2012 – 2015 (continued) • DbI will encourage improvements in practice and creation of new knowledge by facilitating improved communication and networking – To promote, establish and support regional and specialized focus area international networks – To support the growing information needs of the membership and the international community of professionals and deafblind people – To promote a system of Conferences to ensure they are accessible to the international field of deafblindness – To ensure networks are seen by members as a core activity of DbI Collaborations with other International Organizations Currently DbI has Memoranda of Agreement with the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) and the International Council for the Education of the Visually Impaired (ICEVI). A representative of these organizations is given observer status to attend meetings of the DbI Board.