The Fifth Estate
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Haben Girma is hugely accomplished by any standards. She's a Harvard Law School graduate. She's been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30. She’s been honoured by Barack Obama. She's an attorney who, at 26, was part of a legal team that won a landmark federal anti-discrimination court case in the United States.
Girma is also deafblind – in fact, she is the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. Girma communicates using a wireless typewriter and braille system she developed herself. And the landmark court case saw her representing the National Federation of the Blind against Scribd and forcing the e-book and audiobook subscription service to make its materials accessible to blind people.
In conversation with Sally Warhaft, Girma will discuss her new memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law. What are the new frontiers in disability law and technology? How can people without disabilities become smarter – more aware, more imaginative and more flexible – so that everyone can benefit more from the talents and knowledge of people with disabilities?
This event will be Auslan interpreted and live-captioned.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
The first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School, Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. She is a White House Champion of Change, and a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree. She has been honored by President Obama, President Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and many others. Haben has been featured extensively in media around the world, including the BBC, NBC, Forbes, NPR, and more.
For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.
Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.