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Honorary OBE for UCLan sign language and deaf studies expert

02 July 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

Professor Ulrike Zeshan recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

An international sign language and deaf studies expert from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been awarded an Honorary OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor Ulrike Zeshan, who is the Director of the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies (iSLanDS) at the University, was honoured for her services to higher education and the international deaf community.

" I deeply appreciate the role that the iSLanDS staff and students, including our many deaf Institute members, have played in our achievements."

Professor Zeshan, who is originally from Germany and has headed up iSLanDS since 2006, focuses her research on the documentation and analysis of sign languages in non-Western countries, including endangered sign languages in rural communities with hereditary deafness. She is currently working overseas on a pioneering project to support English literacy development with members of the deaf communities in India, Ghana, and Uganda.

Commenting on her award she said: “At iSLanDS, our mission statement is to pursue world-leading research hand-in-hand with community capacity building. I feel that it is this model that is being recognised first and foremost with the Honorary OBE award. I deeply appreciate the role that the iSLanDS staff and students, including our many deaf Institute members, have played in our achievements. We are currently working hard to expand our work to additional countries in the Global South.”

“This is a huge success for Ulrike and rightly deserved given her relentless pursuit of the development of peer education in less developed countries around the world."

The Dean of the School of Language, Literature and International Studies, Isabel Donnelly, congratulated Professor Zeshan on her award. She said: “This is a huge success for Ulrike and rightly deserved given her relentless pursuit of the development of peer education in less developed countries around the world.

“There are many people's lives who have been changed for the better for her work overseas and an Honorary OBE is a fitting recognition for not only how she has remained true to her beliefs of the power of education but also the exceptional quality of her research and her talents as a linguist.”

She will receive her award sometime within the next few months. Honorary OBEs are awarded to recipients who are not from the UK or a Commonwealth country of which the Queen is head of state.