First-Ever Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Cohort at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (ACPSS)


APCSS High Five

Lt. Gen (Ret.) Dan Leaf (left of center) high-fives Ed Chevy (far right), and Colin Whited (right of center) looks on with a smile, as Rhonda Cummingham (far left) interprets following the closing ceremony of Asia-Pacific Orientation Course (APOC) at the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Security Studies

Broadening their understanding of the complex Asia-Pacific region, 150 security and other practitioners recently completed the Asia-Pacific Orientation Course (APOC) in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Among those taking part in this perspective-shaping course was the Center’s first cohort of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) Fellows, with four in attendance. Colin Whited, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Project Specialist at the Pacific Disabilities Center, was one of the Fellows.

Conducted January 25 – 29, 2016 at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, APOC educated participants on the myriad factors that impact the region’s security environment. Primarily mid-level military officers and their civilian equivalents took part in discussions centered on socio-economic, political, defense, health and environmental issues.

“A lot of people have worked in Asia for a long time without a formal introduction to the region,” said course manager Dr. Jeffrey Reeves. “We provide the strategic (perspective) so they can see how what they do on a daily basis fits into the big picture. Hopefully, they will be more effective in regional engagement and executing U.S. policy.”

According to Florence Rapozo, a Daniel K. Inouye APCSS education technician, the Center recruited deaf or hard-of-hearing professionals (including Rapozo), to give them an opportunity to integrate with peers in the security field and take part in an education program that strives to change the world.

“We discussed and learned a lot about important security cooperation challenges,” Rapozo said, adding, “We enjoyed meeting with Fellows in our seminar groups, and interacted and learned from their different perspectives and experiences.  We felt this course is very important, and we recommend other people with disabilities attend.”


Standing left to right: Colin Whited, Florence Rapozo, Terrence Slattery (Program Recruiter), Ed Chevy, and Karl Mikasa

APOC is one of six formal courses at the Daniel K. Inouye APCSS. The Center is a Department of Defense Institute that addresses regional and global security issues.

It supports the U.S. Pacific Command by developing and sustaining relationships among security practitioners and national security establishments throughout the region.

Since opening in 1995, more than 9,700 alumni representing over 122 countries and territories have attended APCSS courses and workshops.