Number 54 • January 2015

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Vice Presidents’ Messages

Bernadette M. Kappen reports:

We are in the process of preparing for the World Conference in Romania in 2015. This will be an exciting time to renew friendships, make new friends and gather new ideas to make our programs better. The program and venue for the Conference is outstanding and I encourage you to try to be there. In an effort to support individuals to attend the Conference, DbI will provide a limited number of sponsorships. If you are interested in sponsorship, you can find the application form on the DbI website (

I want to remind you to consider nominating a colleague for one of the DbI Awards. People working with individuals who are deafblind are outstanding. They go about their work and never ask for praise but this is the time we should honor individuals and share their achievements with others. The nomination form is on the website ( for the Young Professional Leadership Award, the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the Board meeting in Belfast, the strategic plan for the past four years was reviewed. It was so encouraging and motivating to see how many of the activities have been completed. As with any strategic plan – we are never finished. When we meet again in Romania it will be a time to celebrate the accomplishments of DbI and to wish the new Board and ManCom the best in continuing the work of making the world a better place for individuals who are deafblind.
Bernadette M. Kappen

Carolyn Monaco reports:

With the four-year term of the present Man Com and Board ending at the DbI International conference in Bucharest, Romania in only four months our more recent efforts have evolved around assessment and review of our accomplishments to date and those tasks still to be completed. Board members responded to a survey as part of our strategic plan evaluation and engaged in further discussions on this topic at our meeting in the fall. Preliminary ideas were discussed and documented so that the 2015-2019 Board will have an initial frame of reference upon which they can build their new strategic plan.

I had the pleasure of attending the ADBN conference in Belfast in November and it was not only informative but inspirational. The opportunity to network with so many people working within an area of our field that I am a little less familiar with was wonderful. I hope that in the future DbI through the use of technology will be able to make at least portions of the scientific programs of events like this available to persons around the world who are unable to attend in person.

I am especially looking forward to the conference in Bucharest in May where I will be joined by at least a few of my students graduating in April from the Intervenor Program here in Toronto. The enthusiasm with which they anticipate their attendance reminds me of my first international conference in the early 80’s and of which I wrote in my first message on this page four short years ago. Sometimes life is just ironic!


Conference Itinerary Update

16th DbI World Conference Programme update

The Scientific committee has recently held its 2nd meeting and finalised all the planning for the conference programme1. We are now busy putting the plan into action, contacting speakers, inviting participants to chair sessions and will soon be arranging the presentations into the daily sessions.

Keynote speakers have just been announced and information about them is now on the conference website. As previously advertised, the conference will include plenary sessions on Education & Learning, Identity & Belonging, and Advocacy & Campaigning.

Plenary discussions

Suzanne Zeedyk2 (Dundee University) will introduce the topic of Identity & Belonging, focussing on the vital role emotional connection plays in all human functioning. Her new book on the topic will be published in May, 2015.

Lars Bosselmann, Director of Christian Blind Mission’s (CBM)3 Department for International Alliances and Advocacy, will talk about the principles of Advocacy.4 His work on the Millennium Development goals and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities5, gives him invaluable experience which will be relevant to national and local campaigning.

All the plenary sessions will included presentations and discussion by respondents who will describe how they have found local solutions, appropriate to their region and culture, to meet the needs described.

Workshops and posters – the heart of the conference

The Scientific Committee has developed a programme that emphasises interactivity, and the workshops and poster sessions will be a central part of the programme. Both of these will include the opportunity to discuss presenter’s ideas, to ask questions and to share experiences. We anticipate this being a highly valued element in this conference with over 100 presentations to choose from.

Further details of the programme will be available on the conference website, when it is finalised in March.

Opportunity for all

The conference will give an opportunity for small groups with a special interest to meet outside of the main programme times. These groups can create their own agenda, for example, they may explore one problem, or plan future projects or simply exchange information to help with future contacts.

In addition there will be the ever popular DbI Network afternoon. Each network focusses on a specific topic, and has its own priorities. The World Conference is a unique opportunity to meet people from throughout the world who share a specific interest, and these sessions can be used to plan, create, develop and enjoy. This should be a truly personal and interactive experience.

Final deadlines are NOW!

Please note the final deadline for submitting an application for a workshop or poster session is 30 January 2015, and it is vital to register before the end of January 2015, to secure the low registration fee.
For the latest information about the conference visit the DbI conference website:
Tony Best

Chair Scientific committee


1 A draft of the conference program was published in Edition 53, DbI Review, July 2014.

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