Heather Harker

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Heather Harker

1992 Global Fellow
Founder of The Kuala Lumpur Society for the Deaf

Heather Harker 1992 Global Fellow


The Kuala Lumpur Society for the Deaf works with already existing schools and organizations led by the Deaf in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, and Tawau, Malaysia to strengthen educational opportunities for Deaf youth and adults. These included English language programs, HIV/AIDS awareness, Youth Leadership Camp, and parent engagement.


Heather Harker serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. She provides high level administrative leadership, working closely with and advising the President's Executive Team to ensure implementation and communication of university activities. She also serves as a liaison to internal and external organizations on behalf of the president including Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, federal government agencies, higher education institutions and agencies, external committees, and media organizations. Harker began serving her duties on May 31, 2016.

Previously, Harker served as chair of the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees from October 2014 to March 2016 and is known as a strategic thinker, facilitator, and communicator who provided solid leadership. Harker served on the board from 2009 to 2016.

Professionally, Harker was most recently director of programs at Third Sector New England (TSNE), which focuses on building power, knowledge, and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. Prior to her 15 years with TSNE, Harker was a teaching fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and received an award for teaching excellence.

Harker's previous positions include being assistant director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, focusing on policy development, advocacy, and program development. During that time, she participated in the three-year Kellogg International Leadership Program which brought together 60 leaders and community change-makers from the United States, southern Africa, and Latin America. She also served as a consultant for Northern Essex Community College and the Center for Social Policy and McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts.

Harker has been a fellow with Discovering Deaf Worlds, which was focused on cross-cultural learning and capacity building in the Philippines. She has served as chair and member on the boards of The Learning Center for the Deaf and DEAF, Inc. Harker held an Echoing Green fellowship for social entrepreneurship, which took her to Malaysia to work with the deaf community to establish a public health workshop series, English as a Second Language programs, and a summer youth leadership camp, and to give herself the opportunity to teach in schools for deaf students.

Harker earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Brown University in 1992, and a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University in 2000.

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