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Thank You, Paul!

Dr. Paul Gabias was born and raised in Montreal and is fluent in both English and French. He graduated cum laude from Concordia University and received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from New York University in 1988. Having worked in Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado and New Brunswick, he is now a professor at Okanagan University College in Kelowna, where he lives with his wife Mary Ellen and their three children.

Since 1992, he has served as President of the National Association of Guide Dog Users, a division of the National Federation of the Blind in the U.S., and has successfully trained six dog guides, three for himself and three for others. Paul has a passionate commitment to the blind movement in Canada.

He has faced discrimination with strength and resilience, having been evicted from a theatre and threatened with eviction from his home simply because he had a guide dog. With the support of his friends and colleagues of the National Federation of the Blind, he won the case and has continued to fight tirelessly for the equality and civil rights of people who are blind.

In the words of Marc Maurer, President of the NFB: Dr. Gabias is one of the most aggressive advocates for the rights and interests of blind people, and an authority in the research of tactile understanding. Paul knows first`hand the empowerment of collective action.

Having attended his first convention in New York in 1973, he was deeply impressed by the NFB's positive attitude toward blindness and sought to share this liberating philosophy with his fellow Canadians. He realized this dream in 1992, as founder of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality.Under his dedicated leadership, NFB:AE has achieved recognition as a strong and vibrant voice of the organised blind in Canada, culminating last February in the historic achievement of our first national convention.

We are not an organization speaking on behalf of the blind, we are the blind speaking for ourselves. We believe that with training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance. We believe that it is respectable to be blind. We believe that the real problem with blindness is not the loss of eyesightthe real problem is a lack of positive information about blindness and the achievements of blind people.

Thank you, Paul, for your selfless contribution and your passionate commitment to changing what it means to be blind in Canada.