BALTIMORE, Dec. 23 The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for Braille literacy, announced today that Dr. Abraham Nemeth, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy and inventor of the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Scientific Notation, will serve as a National Ambassador for Braille literacy. As an ambassador, Dr. Nemeth will help advance the NFB's Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, a national initiative to promote the importance of reading and writing Braille for blind children and adults. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign kicked off in July of 2008 with the unveiling of the design of a commemorative coin to be minted in 2009 in recognition of the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind that bears his name.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to have Dr. Nemeth as part of this historic initiative to bring Braille literacy to all of the blind children and adults in America who need it. Dr. Nemeth is a perfect example of the power of Braille literacy. As a blind mathematician, Dr. Nemeth struggled to write notations in his doctoral program. Rather than giving up, Dr. Nemeth created a Braille system for his own use that is now the standard mathematics code for the United States and known as the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation.
There can be no doubt that the ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Despite the undisputed value of Braille, however, only about 10 percent of blind children in the United States are currently learning it. Society would never accept a 10 percent literacy rate among sighted children; it should not accept such an outrageously low literacy rate among the blind. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, with the support of brilliant inventors like Abraham Nemeth, will reverse the downward trend in Braille literacy and ensure that equal opportunities in education and employment are available to all of the nation's blind."
Abraham Nemeth said: "It is an honor to serve as a National Ambassador for the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign. The importance of Braille literacy cannot be overstated. My knowledge of Braille has led me to places I never dreamed possible, and allowed me to create opportunities for the blind mathematicians of the future. I believe that Braille readers can accomplish anything they put their minds to and I hope to instill that belief in all blind children and adults in this country."
For more information about the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign and the Louis Braille commemorative coin, please visit www.braille.org.
SOURCE National Federation of the Blind