ISIW’s first interview with the lovely Julia was well received, so I’ve decided to continue this interview series 😀
Mark Berry from Wellington, New Zealand has happily accepted to be the second lucky interviewee on ISIW. Thanks champ!
Mark is one of the world’s future Deaf leaders – the next Colin Allen, maybe? 😉 He was recently selected to participate in Frontrunners 10, which starts in September 2014. Frontrunners is an international deaf leadership program which is run in Copenhagen, Denmark. The program has been running since 2005, and has been well received by the international Deaf community.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Where do I start? I’m Deaf, from a Deaf family. I was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. I moved to Wellington to study and received my degree in Film and Second Language Education. I’m about to embark in a life changing journey at Denmark in Frontrunners.
What was your recent travel experience?
My recent travel was to Sydney, actually, all last four trips were to Australia in the last 2 years. The last one was to attend World Federation of the Deaf conference where I got the opportunity to present also. It was amazing experience because of the international visitors! I believe we had about participates from 66 countries!
What was your presentation at the WFD Conference about?
My presentation was about the impact of Deaf people lives in regards to access while natural disaster was happening. It was an issue that is the same all over the world as I found out!
How did travel change you?
Oh traveling broad my view of the world, I appreciate my lifestyle more and traveling make me realise that being true to myself is the best thing I could do!
Is there anywhere in the world you have always wanted to travel to?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy for their rich history and in 2009, I finally had the opportunity to go, but it wasn’t meant to be! But now, it’s really hard to choose a country specifically when I want to see them all! Next year will be my 10th year travelling and maybe the flight to Denmark will be the 10th time I leave New Zealand!
What are your travel tips?
Go with your mind open, don’t be afraid to try new things. In fact, try to do things you were scared of doing because you know your friends would judge you. You don’t have that when you travel!
How did you find out about Frontrunners?
Well, I had friends over the years who went to study there and they encourage me to go. I decided to do it few years ago and I cannot wait to start my studies!
Could you tell me a bit about it?
It is an International Deaf Youth leadership training programme where we will learn five core studies to support WFD principles. This course lasts nine months and it is mostly based in Denmark.
What do you hope to gain out of it?
I am hoping to learn from the speakers, my fellow frontrunners and the deaf community I meet. Nothing is better than learning from someone who is passion or living the experience. To gain skills that would benefits the deaf communities in New Zealand and worldwide! Also I would like to hone my leadership and communication skills!
Mark is currently fundraising for his Frontrunners expedition, and every dollar donated will go a long way as he is one of the future rising stars of the Deaf community in New Zealand and worldwide. Frontrunners costs a lot of money, and it involves a lot of work and fundraising to be able to send a country representative and to pay for the program itself, as it runs for 9 months, especially if one is from the Southern Hemisphere. If you have any spare dollars lying around, donate to his cause here – he will greatly appreciate it.
ISIW has donated $50 NZ dollars to Mark, as I have a lot of faith in him, and I’m also humbled to have met an amazing human being like him – he’s a rare one that’s for sure. He has so much passion for the Deaf community which is remarkable.
Now, who’ll be the next lucky 3rd person to be interviewed on ISIW??? If you’re interested, or have someone in mind, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Until next time,