Dr.Laurene E. Simms

Laurene E. Simms is Interim Chief Bilingual Officer at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. She has been Professor in Department of Education at Gallaudet University for twenty years.

As an ASL and English Bilingual Education consultant and a former elementary teacher, Laurene has hands-on experience in the implementation of a bilingual and multicultural educational environment for diverse Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners with the ages of 0-21 and is an acknowledged expert on the topic of using ASL and English as the languages of instruction.

Mr.Sibaji Panda

Sibaji Panda born and brought up in India has moved back to India after serving 10 years as Senior Lecturer in Deaf Studies and Researcher at the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. 

He works on sign language research and development, training and teaching, He is the founder and Director at Happy Hands School for the Deaf, a bilingual school in rural India. Leading from front he is a pioneer in many Bi-lingual initiatives in India.

Mr.Josh Josa

Josh Josa is the Disability Inclusive Education specialist at the Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation’s Center for Education, USAID’s primary technical assistance center. 

Currently, he is the Agreement and Contract Officer Representative(AOR/COR) of USAID’s Leading through Learning Global Platform (LTLGP) and All Children Reading: Grand Challenge for Development (ACRGCD). 

He also works with USAID’s Education Sector to ensure equity and inclusion in education programming as well as the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout USAID programming efforts. He is also an advisory board member for CAST’s Universal Design for Learning: Rising to Equity initiative. He is a graduate of Gallaudet University’s International Development master’s program and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Kenya from 2010 to 2012.

Mathilde de Geus

Mathilde de Geus is an Educational Designer and a specialist in learning & development for deaf/ hard of hearing children and youth in the Netherlands. She has 14 years of experience as a licensed Teacher of the Deaf and coordinator in deaf education. 

Since 2009 she works as an expert-coordinator in mainstream education together with deaf/ hard of hearing students, parents, schools and (semi-) governments in the Netherlands and abroad. Her specialization is creating a plurilingual bicultural educational ecology. 

As a pioneer of various educational projects, she has hands-on experience which works well at the intersection of the powerful individuality of education to the deaf and equal inclusive education. 

In the Netherlands, she is associated as lead consultant to a foundation for parents of deaf/ hard of hearing students in mainstream education and as executive coordinator at a private parent fund for talent development of deaf youth.