Building A Better Asia: Deaf Dialogue

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Tomas Hedburg (Sweden)

June 11th, 2011

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Mr. Tomas K. B. Hedberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden and lived there for much of his childhood, attending Manillaskolan School for the Deaf until he moved to Örebro, Sweden, where he would complete his secondary education.  Upon graduating, Mr. Hedberg moved to the United States, where he spent a year studying English and American Sign Language at Gallaudet University.

After his time at Gallaudet, Mr. Hedberg returned to Sweden and undertook his studies at Stockholm University with a year-long foundational program in linguistics while also working as a teacher at his former primary school.  After completing the linguistics program, Mr. Hedberg remained at Stockholm University to begin his undergraduate studies, majoring in Swedish Sign Language and Swedish as a Second Language.   During this time, he also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the university and gain first-hand experience in the field of sign language research.  After completing his undergraduate work, Mr. Hedberg began to further build his career in the fields of Deaf education and sign language research.

In 1989 he created his first publication: a book about the formation and use of name signs in Swedish Sign Language.  He has since been involved in the creation of a variety of publications documenting old-fashioned and regional signs, as well as compilations of name signs for various towns and provinces within Sweden, as well as places abroad.   He worked on the Swedish Sign Language Dictionary for more than ten years as an editor until it was published in 1997 and also contributed his knowledge of Deaf history to two books detailing the historical backgrounds of the Stockholm Deaf Association and the Swedish National Association of the Deaf.

Mr. Hedberg is now on sabbatical from his doctoral studies at Stockholm University and works as an adviser at the Language Council of Sweden, a department of the Institute for Language and Folklore. Mr. Hedberg continues to be actively involved in several Deaf organizations, serving as chairman for the trade union of the Swedish National Association of the Deaf, president of the Swedish Deaf History Society, and a board member for the World Federation of the Deaf.  He is dedicated to the cause of promoting Deafness and helping strengthen Deaf communities around the world.

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