Olugbenga Aina, LL.B, BL, MSW

Director, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Vice President Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Olugbenga Aina

Phone Numbers

202-559-5403 (VP)

Email

olugbenga.aina@gallaudet.edu

Personal Website

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/?trk=eml-wym-cta2

Location

Hall Memorial Building S 141

Office Hours

8:30-5:00

‘Bunmi is my foreshortened middle name; it means “Gift”. Olubunmi in full, meaning “Gift from God”. I identify first as a Yoruba man of Ekiti extraction, before I identify as a Nigerian. I was raised with a sense of pride in my heritage and my lineage on both sides. As I was always told when I was a boy, I am “from Oke-Imope Quarters, Otun-Ekiti, scion of Dr. N. F. Aina, whose father Chief Adebiyi Aina —husband of Faponmile, the one whose name people invoked when they were aggrieved— was Obasaba of Otun…whose mother Chief (Mrs). E. A. Aina hails from Odo-Oja Quarters, Otun-Ekiti... the daughter of Chief Babafemi Awogbami, Osopo Adimula Oloju Owa –the King’s Eyes— son of the Obamila of Otun, and Asake”.

I am a 1990 law graduate of Obafemi Awolowo Univesity, (aka Great Ife), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and the first Deaf person in West Africa to graduate with a law degree. In 1991, I earned my Barrister at Law qualifications from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, and was called to the Nigerian Bar, thus becoming West Africa’s first Deaf lawyer.

I was counsel at Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and rose to become Senior Deputy Editor at the Nigerian Law Publications Ltd., publishers of the Nigerian Weekly Law Reports (NWLR) before I relocated to the US in 1994, where I earned a MSW from Gallaudet in 1996.

I have been an administrator in American higher education since 2000. I was founding director of the Educational Diagnostic Center at the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas (2000-2003), founding director of the former Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) at Gallaudet University (2003-08), founding director of Keeping the Promise (KTP) in the former Office of Diversity and Equity for Students (ODES) at Gallaudet (2008-17) and currently serve as Director of Diversity and Inclusion within the Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

 My fondest memories of my Gallaudet years include:

  • in 2003, changing the World Deaf Leaders Scholars (WDL) program to a scholarship program, which it remains today, from its prior iteration, and developing the rules to guide its award and implementation. WDL is a Nippon Foundation endowment at Gallaudet promoting leadership development among Deaf people in the developing world through higher education access
  • in 2005, leading a 5-day Leadership Training program for 100 Deaf persons representing various registered Deaf people's organizations in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria to deliver curricula in Strategic Leadership; Strategic Planning and Problem Solving/Team Building; Organizational Accountability; Organizational Structure and Constitutionality; and Rights of Deaf Women;
  • in 2005, supporting Dr. Amy Wilson’s initiative to establish the IDMA program at Gallaudet;
  • in June 2007, leading a week-long international conference in South Africa: Deaf Women in Africa and HIV/AIDS: No Time to Wait;
  • in 2008, drafting a letter to then President Robert Davila in my capacity as correspondence secretary of OEAA outlining 7 points for advancing the equity and inclusion agenda at Gallaudet. Dr. Davila adopted this wholesale as the University's 7-Point Diversity Agenda (https://www.gallaudet.edu/news/progress-made-on-seven-point-agenda); and
  • in 2009, leading a spring break Andrew Foster Legacy Tour to Ghana with several KTP members, all of whom were transformed by the experience, and graduated.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading Africana, and have nursed a growing library of African non-fiction literature for more than 10 years. I also enjoy writing, and have been published in some Nigerian newspapers as well as having contributed 2 book chapters. I have traveled widely and presented in various fora in the United States, Europe and Africa. Most of all, I enjoy contributing to African charitable causes from an altruistic position, and for this purpose, have used two vehicles –Strategies to Advance and Network Deaf Africans for Ubuntu, Inc. (STAND for Ubuntu, Inc.); and Global Deaf Aid Foundation, Inc. (GDAF. Inc.)—of which I am founding president and vice-president respectively.

I have been blessed with 4 children: Oluseun, a brilliant girl studying astrophysics at Towson University in Maryland, Kabelo, an aspiring rugby player and sports scientist headed for academic success and professional sports stardom with the University of Pretoria and Blue Bulls Rugby Union Club, Ayodeji, a rising high school junior with aspirations to study engineering while moonlighting as an interpreter, and Olumide, a boy heading into a coruscating future.

I am currently Director, Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

I have a vision for entrenching equity and inclusion at Gallaudet. It encompasses a variety of positions, including moral/social justice, economic, market and results positions. Stated at length, if we can capitalize on our diversity by building our output from the different perspectives everyone brings to the table, if we can reflect the diversity of our current and projected student population, if we can let each person contribute, if we can maximize the usage of our talent pool, then we will have succeeded in creating a stronger, healthier, inclusive campus community. 

In order to accomplish that, one of my priorities is the development of a multifaceted pipeline program which will in the long term produce future generations of inclusive leaders. Commencing today.

President, Strategies to Advance & Network Deaf Africans for Ubuntu, Inc (aka STAND for Ubuntu, Inc.) www.standforubuntu.org 

Vice President, Global Deaf Aid Foundation, Inc.  www.globaldeafaid.org

National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. (NBDA), Director of Communication (2015-17)

Global Deaf Connection, Advisory Committee Member (2004-2010)

Correspondent Secretary, Organization for Equity for African Americans, OEAA (2007-2012)

Awards & Recognitions

Nigerian Weekly Law Reports, Reporter of the Month (March-May 1994)

SWCID Male Staff of the Year 2000-2001

Commonwealth of Kentucky: Kentucky Colonel (August 2015)

Presentations

Strategic Leadership International Deaf Leadership Training Institute, Jos, Nigeria, December 2005

Strategic Planning & Problem Solving International Deaf Leadership Training Institute, Jos, Nigeria, December 2005

Education and Enlightenment: The Keys to Fighting HIV/AIDS among Deaf Women in Nigeria Deaf Women & HIV/AIDS in Africa: No Time to Wait Conference; Midrand, South Africa, June 2007

Racial Identity & Academic Achievement Deaf People of Color Conference, June 14 2013

To the Future with Faith: Marching on Together Deaf Nigerians in England, October 22 2016; NBDA Conference Baltimore MD August 2017

Anchoring Black Deaf Students in Academic Success NBDA Conference, Louisville KY, August 2015

From Nigeria to Fiji: Andrew Foster Touches Eternity  Black History Month Presentation University of Cincinnati February 25, 2016; NBDA Conference, Baltimore MD August 2017

Anchoring Black and Latinx Deaf Students in Academic Success 29th NCORE Conference, June 2, 2016

Strategic Leadership for Organizational Development African Federation of Sign Language Interpreters Regional Conference, Abuja, Nigeria, May 26, 2017

Strengthening Deaf People's Human Rights in Nigeria African Federation of Sign Language Interpreters Regional Conference, Abuja, Nigeria, May 27, 2017

Deaf People in Southwest Nigeria: Their Aspirations and its Impact on Society Southwest Nigeria Deaf Festival August 2, 2018

Diversity Disability & Inclusion in Our Field: Re-Centering PJSA's Mission for Inclusive Peace & Justice Peace and Justice Studies Association 2018 Conference, September 2018

Creating Symbiosis: Supporting the Bilingual Mission through the EDI Inclusive Excellence Framework to Promote the Living, Wellbeing and Belonging of the Gallaudet Community --

Presentation to the Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees February 8, 2019

 

Book Chapters 

Overcoming Cultural and Linguistic Barriers to HIV/AIDS Education among Deaf People in Africa in Citizenship, Politics, Difference: Perspectives from Sub-Saharan Signed Language Communities; Cooper A, Rashid K Eds Gallaudet University Press 2015

Andrew Foster Touches Eternity: From Nigeria to Fiji in It's a Small World: International Deaf Spaces and Encounters; Friedner, M., Kusters A, Eds Gallaudet University Press 2015

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002