The Gallaudet University Office of International Affairs recognized Filipino Deaf Community leader Raphael Vergel de Dios Domingo. As the Nippon-Gallaudet World Deaf Leadership (WDL) Program’s First Filipino Doctoral Degree Holder.
Raphael Vergel de Dios Domingo, often known as “Rafa,” is a De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde alumnus (DLS-CSB).
Domingo received his Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics from Gallaudet Institution in Washington, D.C., a private federally chartered research university committed to the education of the deaf and hard of hearing.
The Nippon Foundation of Tokyo’s WDL Program aspires to provide selected individuals with the knowledge, abilities, and goals to create significant contributions to the deaf community and the nation.
Domingo received the Gallaudet-Nippon World Deaf Leadership (WDL) Scholarship on his third attempt in 2017, making him only the second Filipino to be accepted into the program, which aims to empower deaf and hard of hearing leaders from developing countries.
Rafa Domingo Story on applying to the Program
Rafa Domingo said in an interview, “I applied for the Gallaudet-Nippon World Deaf Leadership Scholarship program twice, but I was unsuccessful both times.
“I reapplied for the scholarship program one last time, believing it was my last chance.” Regardless, Gallaudet University accepted me. My path to a Ph.D. was difficult because I was overwhelmed with academic American Sign Language and linguistic jargon. “I felt helpless and unsure how to seek assistance. But some of my classmates volunteered to assist me and encouraged me to join their study group,” Domingo continued.
He also has a Bachelor in Applied Deaf Studies. And a Certificate in Bookkeeping from the Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies. He identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronoun “Siya.” Additionally, they hold a Master of Arts in International Affairs with a Major in Comparative International Disability. From American University in Washington, D.C.
According to Domingo, he will do more study on Filipino Sign Language as the head of the Deaf Heritage. And Filipino Sign Language Studies Unit at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Center for Education and Advancement of the Deaf. They are a co-founder of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Inc. An organization that promotes deaf education and human rights.
Rafa also reminds deaf students that academic writing is a difficulty for many international students, whether hearing or deaf. They motivate students to seek assistance when required and to take advantage of the many options offered.