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Speakers Fund

GAAD Speakers Fund

Supporting individuals who spread awareness

Each year, the GAAD Foundation will award one or more individuals with up to $3,000 USD to cover expenses associated with speaking about an aspect of digital accessibility at an in-person event.
Apply for the Speakers Fund
The purpose of the Speaker’s Fund is to increase the representation of everyday tech professionals at digital accessibility-specific events, and digital accessibility professionals and people with disabilities at mainstream tech events.
Jennison Asuncion dropped by A11yNYC to talk about the GAAD Foundation Speakers Fund.

2023 Speakers Fund Recipients

We are delighted to introduce three speakers whose work aligns with our mission of incorporating accessibility at every stage of a project.
Headshot of Dr. Shabbir Awan in a blue and white polo shirt, with groomed black and grey facial hair

Dr. Muhammad Shabbir Awan

Dr. Muhammad Shabbir is an analyst, rights activist and a researcher with expertise in international relations, digital accessibility, internet governance, as well as in policy and strategy formulation. Prior to his appointment as Member of ISOC Board of Trustees in July 2021, he was the founding President of the ISOC Accessibility Special Interest Group now converted to ISOC Standing Group on Accessibility, 1 of 3 permanent SIGs of ISOC and Member Board of Directors of the ISOC Pakistan Islamabad Chapter.


2023 Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Brisbane, Australia

APrIGF 2023 Brisbane - Hybrid
August 29-13, 2023
Layshi grinning, facing slighly left, wearing a brown sweater, blue blazer and large framed, thick rimmed glasses

Layshi Curbelo Vega

Layshi is a designer specializing in user experience (UX) and accessibility (a11y) for the past 10 years. She is a communication educator of "Talk their language" She teaches companies and designers how to understand each other from her point of view, from her academy where she provides both corporate and private training. She is a Design Advocate and Command Z’s CEO, a traveler podcast about design, tech, and communication with episodes in Spanish and English that visited, more than 10 countries around the world. Curbelo believes that everything in this life is designed whether it is an object, a moment, or a thought. Changing the world one pixel at a time.


BED-Con 2023 in Berlin Germany

Berlin Expert Days 2023
September 28-29, 2023
Closeup of Lee, smiling, with above shoulder length hair, bangs, a nose ring and crewneck t-shirt

Lee White

Lee is an Accessibility Engineer at Olark, where she helps build a live web chat experience that is accessible to both the end users and the agents. She is passionate about building user experiences and design systems.


LibertyJS conference in Philadelphia, PA, USA

Liberty JS
October 12-13, 2023

Speakers Fund Guidelines

Have a question? Email the Speakers Fund at the GAAD Foundation at

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Either:
    1. be an everyday tech professional speaking at a digital accessibility-specific event,
    2. be a digital accessibility professional or person with disabilities speaking at a mainstream tech event.
  2. Have a talk that:
    1. has already been accepted, or
    2. you intend to submit to a specific upcoming event.
  3. Be willing to acknowledge the support you receive from the GAAD Foundation publicly.

Ready to apply?

Please e-mail and include the following for consideration:
  • Name of the event, date, and location.
  • Information about your talk (e.g., an abstract).
  • A brief bio (no more than 200 words that includes letting us know if you are someone who works directly in digital accessibility as part of your job responsibilities, or if you are an everyday tech professional who has a deep interest in digital accessibility).
  • A link to your professional home page or LinkedIn profile if you have this.
  • If you have already been accepted, proof from the event organizers that you are speaking (e.g., email acceptance), along with a contact name (for verification purposes).
  • A listing of the anticipated expenses you are seeking assistance with and their associated costs (in US dollars).