Avraham (Rami) Rabby has been serving, since October 2002, as the Assistant Information Officer (Electronic Media), in the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi. He supervises the eight-person audio-visual unit and is responsible for the Embassy's relations with northern India’s television, radio and internet news sector.
Before joining the Diplomatic Service in 1991, Mr. Rabby worked in the human resources management field in the private sector. He has authored or co-authored a number of publications on career planning, job seeking and employment, among them the book “Take Charge: A Strategic Guide For Blind Job Seekers.”
Mr. Rabby has a Bachelor's degree from Oxford University, England, and a Master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. Born in Israel, Mr. Rabby became blind at age eight, originally arrived in the United States on a Fulbright scholarship, and obtained U.S. citizenship in 1980.
In my early life I had to face no major challenge as such. I went to a Blind school in England, which was very liberal and had a progressive philosophy. We were allowed to go out and participate in the city activities as and when we desired. As a result I participated in a lot of activities including theater and sports. In sports we used to often compete against the regular schools. I was especially good at rowing and swimming . During my Bachelor’s degree, for the first time, I had to face discrimination on grounds of my impairment. Most of my friends at that time entered into the teaching line. However I gave a lot of interviews with different companies to be enrolled as a management trainee without much success.
At that time there were no explicit laws against discrimination. Finally a person in Ford motors gave me a chance as a management trainee. After that I went to US for an M.B.A. programme.Towards the end of my M.B.A. I again started applying for jobs in United States and had to face similar reactions. I was told on my face that a blind person could not get a job.
Then I came across a person by the name of Ted Hewitt who owned a small company – Hewitt Associates which is now a gigantic enterprise. He decided to hire me as a management consultant. I worked for him for 7 years before joining Citibank.
In the mid 80’s I decided to change careers and entered the Foreign Service. I took a written exam, which I cleared and then embarked on a fight against the whole state department. They had a notion that a blind person could not be a diplomat. During the 1990’s Congress decided to change policies regarding the employment of disabled persons and I was the first beneficiary.
If one sincerely believes in something then that acts as a motivating factor for that person. It is similar in case of rights of women or Blacks.
It also has a lot to do with the kind of environment one is in. In a democracy there are mechanisms to allow a person to fight his battle, which is not possible in a dictatorship. They have access to media where they can make their voices heard. Being in a democratic country like United States helped me a lot in dealing with situations.
I had no specific dreams as to what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. As a child what one wants to do basically depends on what he is interested in. My interest in languages and politics determined my career later on. I did my B.B.A. in French and Spanish and my penchant for politics lead me to join foreign services.
My parents had very little role to play in my life because I had left home at the age of 10 and after that nobody knew what kind of life I was leading.
Initially however my father was instrumental in my going to England for further studies. His habit of reading out newspapers to me early in life also aroused my interest in politics.
The key lesson that I have learnt from life is that people should be open to different experiences. If one is interested in succeeding then one of the things one should do is try out a lot of things. One should always look for areas in life that one has a real passion for.
I believe it is very essential for people in India to be organised. India is a huge country with a lot of social and political problems. It is much more difficult for people over here to make their voices heard. It is better for persons with disability to speak for themselves. Therefore it is very important for them to keep themselves organised to make their voices heard.
I read a lot in my free time but what I read is mostly related to my work. I also listen to music at times. In my college days I used to play a lot of sports. I was very good at rowing and athletics as I have already mentioned. Nowadays I only play board games like scrabble and chess.