Press Release

November 17, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer Dunnam, Chair
Braille Authority of North America

BANA Honors Darleen Bogart
at 2015 Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) will proudly present its Braille Excellence Award to CNIB's Darleen Bogart— international braille advocate, braille transcriber, braille teacher, and Canada's National Braille Convenor. This well-deserved honor will be presented November 20th at the Awards Banquet hosted by the 2015 Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The 2015 Braille Excellence Award is presented in grateful recognition of Darleen's enormous contribution, not only to BANA and to North America, but to braille in a wider, global sense over several decades. Her extraordinary service and quiet leadership have helped braille remain viable and reliable while she has also been a leader in moving it forward and expanding its availability worldwide.

Darleen is the longest-standing member of the BANA Board and has served ably as its Chair as well as the leader of numerous BANA committees. Darleen's international contributions are vast, especially in the development of Unified English Braille (UEB). She was a member of the planning committee for the first two international meetings on English braille, 1982 and 1988, and served as host in Canada for the founding meeting of ICEB 1991. She was a founding member and President of the Canadian Braille Authority, now known as Braille Literacy Canada, and served as its representative to the ICEB Executive from 1991 through 2012.

Because of the breadth of Darleen's contributions and her far-reaching influence, it is difficult to isolate a singular accomplishment as her legacy. Perhaps her most notable service has been her steadfast leadership as Chair of the UEB Development Project from its 1991 BANA beginnings through its acceptance by ICEB in 2004. She then served from 2004–2010 as Chair of the Overarching Committee which completed the code. It was her wise and deliberative shepherding of UEB that led to its worldwide adoption and implementation. Through all this complex development and diplomacy, she has demonstrated deep commitment and respect for the evolving needs and views of all braille users, for her peers in the community of those who work with braille and on code committees, and for the traditions of braille as an elegant as well as time-proven working system. Of her work, Duxbury Systems founder Joe Sullivan wrote: "Without Darleen at the helm, I am very doubtful that the hope of a unified code with worldwide acceptance could have been realized."

BANA created its Braille Excellence Award in honor of Louis Braille's 200th birthday and awarded it for the first time in 2009. This will be only the fourth awarding of this prestigious award that recognizes people or organizations that have developed or contributed to a code, have developed code materials or software that supports codes, and/or who represent the highest standards of braille production.

Darleen's remarkable commitment to the highest standards of braille and to those who rely on it has been the hallmark of her work and of her international contributions. Her leadership has inspired and enabled countless others to use and to champion braille. BANA invites you to join us in honoring her.

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The Board of BANA consists of appointed representatives from eighteen member organizations of braille producers, transcribers, teachers, and consumers.

The mission of the Braille Authority of North America is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics.

The purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. When appropriate, BANA shall accomplish these activities in international collaboration with countries using English braille. In exercising its function and authority, BANA shall consider the effects of its decisions on other existing braille codes and guidelines, forms and formats; ease of production by various methods; and acceptability to readers.