Skip to Main ContentCOE HomeSDSU Home

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

SDSU Faculty Member Selected President of World Blind Union

Dr. Fredric Schroeder
About 285 million people.

That’s how many blind or partially sighted people the World Blind Union (WBU) represents in over 190 countries. And the College of Education’s, Dr. Fredric Schroeder, is its new president.

Schroeder, a research faculty member with the San Diego State University Interwork Institute, was chosen to his new position this summer during the WBU’s General Assembly in Orlando, Florida.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the global representatives of the world’s blind to lead the World Blind Union in the face of many global challenges,” said Schroeder, who represents the National Federation of the Blind, which “believes in the full capacity of blind people, and has the power, influence, diversity, and determination to help transform our dreams into reality.”

Schroeder said he will continue to focus on some of the biggest international issues impacting the blind and partially sighted across the world, such as combating societal stigma and low expectations that create barriers for blind people in many nations.

“The World Blind Union is different from other organizations I have been involved with in the past,” added Schroeder, who also served as commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Education. “As an international organization, the WBU is an organization of organizations…Each organization is dealing with its own challenges and priorities, so the challenge is to find areas of common interest that a worldwide organization can work on.”

Schroeder, who has two grown children and is the proud grand parent of a 16-month-old granddaughter, currently teaches leadership and public policy seminars to senior leaders of state and tribal vocational rehabilitation agencies. Together, he said, these agencies provide job training and placement services to over 1 million people with disabilities across the U.S. each year.

He has also advocated for and implemented innovative education and rehabilitation programs and policies, including the Marrakesh Treaty, which was adopted in 2013 and would allow books in accessible formats to be shared across national borders.

“That will greatly increase access to published works,” said Schroeder, who in his spare time likes to read and listen to music. “And by so doing, increase access to education and employment for blind people everywhere.”