SIS Master’s of International Affairs in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) program alumni Raphael “Raphy” Domingo, SIS/MA ’12, and Mackie Calbay, SIS/MA ’12, have been selected by the Empower Access Program as Fellows by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
The CIDP Master’s degree, the world’s first virtual Master’s degree in disability policy and American University's first all-online degree program, was a founding centerpiece program of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP), a research center at American University.
As part of their fellowship, both were invited to the first-ever Empower Conference on May 22 at the U.S. State Department headquarters. The conference featured 34 disability rights advocates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tajikistan and Uganda who have recently completed a month-long Empower fellowship exchange program.
The program invites selected disability advocates from around the world to the U.S. to work with leading disability advocacy organizations on issues such as inclusive education, disability advocacy and capacity building. Domingo and Calbay performed their fellowship with Discovering Deaf Worlds in Rochester, New York, where they received training on organizational development, fund development, strategic planning and advocacy. During their stay in the U.S., they visited Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) partner National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, Syracuse University and AU, the first CIDP alumni to do so.
Domingo is co-founder of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf. He is the current adviser of the Federation and two other national Deaf organizations. He also works as the Coordinator of Education Access for the Deaf at the Center for Education Access and Development of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines.
Calbay currently works as the Deaf Advocacy Program Coordinator for the Center of Partnership and Development under the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines. She volunteers on the Executive Board of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Youth Section, Deaf Advisory Council of the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters and the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Sustainability Subcommittee.