An Audience with Dr Liisa Kauppinen

An honorary Doctor in Laws (LL.D) was bestowed on Dr Liisa Kauppinen by Trinity College Dublin yesterday (28 June) for her outstanding contribution in the field of Deaf advocacy and human rights. Dr Kauppinen was executive director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf for 30 years, General Secretary and President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and served as the permanent WFD representative to the United Nations for 20 years.  She still continues to serve as an expert for the General Secretariat of the WFD.

She has been a major inspiration to Deaf communities internationally, and an articulate and intelligent ‘voice’ on the need to explicitly state the human rights of deaf people at national, European and global level, all the while decrying the lack of opportunities for education and training, the under-employment of deaf people, and the lack of recognition of signed languages as ‘real’ languages.  She has supported the development of deaf self-advocacy in Ireland and was a key supporter of the move to establish a Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College in 2001/02.

Professor Lorraine Leeson, Centre for Deaf Studies Director, nominated Dr Kauppinen for the award for her outstanding contribution in the field of Deaf advocacy and human rights. Dr Kauppinen was executive director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf for 30 years, General Secretary and President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and served as the permanent WFD representative to the United Nations for 20 years.  She still continues to serve as an expert for the General Secretariat of the WFD.

On Saturday 29th June, recognising and applauding her global contribution, the Irish Deaf community gathered at the Deaf Heritage Centre at Deaf Village Ireland where Dr Kauppinen shared her memories with friends and peers. Dr John Bosco Conama (Centre for Deaf Studies) presided over the ceremony. To mark the auspicious occasion this short presentation captured some fond memories and some warm words of gratitude from her colleagues.

Interesource Group has been working with the Centre for Deaf Studies for the past few years, and Chief Executive of Interesource Group – Haaris Sheikh, is an adjunct lecturer at CDS. The World Federation of the Deaf have been supporters of many of the projects which Interesource Group have been involved in and the international project teams wholeheartedly congratulate Dr Kauppinen at this wonderful achievement and recognition of her global contribution.

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