World Federation of the Deaf
|Purpose||Human, Civil, and Linguistic rights of Deaf people.|
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organization that acts as a peak body for national associations of Deaf people, with a focus on Deaf people who use sign language and their family and friends. WFD aims to promote the Human Rights of Deaf people worldwide, by working closely with the United Nations (with which it has consultative status) and various UN agencies such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). WFD is also a member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
The WFD was established in September 1951 in Rome, Italy, at the first World Deaf Congress, under the auspices of Ente Nazionale Sordomuti (ENS), the Italian Deaf Association. The first president of WFD was Professor Vittorio Ieralla, who was also, at that time, president of the ENS. The congress was attended by representatives from 25 countries.
Dr. Cesare Magarotto was one of the founders of World Federation of the Deaf and its first General Secretary (1951-1987) along with Mr. Vittorio Ieralla who was elected as the President from 1951 -1955.
Mr. Ieralla and Dr. Magarotto successfully convinced the Italian government to support their efforts to establish a WFD General Secretariat in Rome, in 1951. With continued support from the Italian government and later with the ENS, the WFD General Secretariat was able to establish informative and advocacy networks, with national federations of the Deaf around the world. Decades later, the WFD General Secretariat relocated to Finland (1987), with support from the Finnish government and the Finnish national of the Deaf led by the former WFD General Secretary Dr. Liisa Kauppinen (WFD President Emeritius).
WFD has B-category status with the United Nations and is represented on the following groups':
- Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
- Regional Commissions
- Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
- Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- Economic Commission and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
- Panel of Experts on the UN Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Bank
- Council of Europe
WFD provides expert advice on Deaf issues in its relationship with other international organizations and professional groups.
The legal seat of WFD is in Helsinki, Finland.
Aims and objectives
At present, emphasis is placed on the following areas:
- Improve the status of national sign languages,
- Better education for Deaf people,
- Improve access to information and services
- Improve human rights for Deaf people in developing countries
- Promote the establishment of Deaf organisations where none currently exist
The WFD claims to represent 70 million deaf people worldwide, of which more than 80 percent live in developing countries. This is done mainly through membership of national deaf organisations, where such organisations exist. As of February 2009[update], 130 national associations are members. Associate members, international members and individual members also make up WFD’s membership base.
List of member associations (as of July 2014):
The World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf has been held every four years since 1951. Organised by the WFD and the host country, this event is attended by thousands of Deaf people from all over the world. As well as convening the General Assembly (the highest decision-making body of the WFD) and forming the guidelines for the next four years of its work, the congress holds a large cultural program including theatre performances, cinema, exhibitions, performing arts, visits to local places of interest.
|1 (I)||1951||September 21||Rome, Italy||(no theme)|
|2 (II)||1955||Zagreb, Yugoslavia||(no theme)|
|3 (III)||1959||August 22–26||Wiesbaden, Federal Republic of Germany||(no theme)|
|4 (IV)||1963||August 17–21||Stockholm, Sweden||(no theme)|
|5 (V)||1967||August 10–17||Warsaw, Poland||The Deaf Among Hearing Persons|
|6 (VI)||1971||July 31 - August 5||Paris, France||The Deaf Person in the World in Evolution|
|7 (VII)||1975||July 31 - August 8||Washington, D.C., United States of America||Full Citizenship for All Deaf People|
|8 (VIII)||1979||Varna, Bulgaria||The Deaf People in Modern Society|
|9 (IX)||1983||Palermo, Italy||Deafness Today & Tomorrow: Reality & Utopia|
|10 (X)||1987||July 20–28||Espoo (Helsinki), Finland||One World - One Responsibility|
|11 (XI)||1991||July||Tokyo, Japan||Equality and Self-Reliance|
|12 (XII)||1995||July 6–15||Vienna, Austria||Towards Human Rights|
|13 (XIII)||1999||July 25–31||Brisbane, Australia||Diversity and Unity|
|14 (XIV)||2003||July 18–26||Montréal, Canada||Opportunities and Challenges in the 21st Century|
|15 (XV)||2007||July 16–22||Madrid, Spain||Human Rights through Sign Languages|
|16 (XVI)||2011||July 18–24||Durban, South Africa||Global Deaf Renaissance (http://www.wfd2011.com/)|
|17 (XVII)||2015||July 28 - August 2||Istanbul, Turkey||Strengthening Human Diversity (http://www.wfdcongress2015.org/)|
|18 (XVIII)||2019||July 23 - 27||Paris, France||Sign Language Rights for All (http://www.wfdcongress2019.org//)|
- 1951-1955 : Vittorio Ieralla Italia
- 1955-1983 : Dragoljub Vukotić Yugoslavia
- 1983-1995 : Yerker Andersson(1929-2016 aged:87) USA
- 1995-2003 : Liisa Kauppinen Finland
- 2003-2011 : Markku Jokinen Finland
- 2011- : Colin Allen (WFD President) Australia
- International Sign
- List of sign languages
- European Union of the Deaf
- National Association of the Deaf (United States)
- National Association of the Deaf (Italy)
- European Union of the Deaf Young
- World Association of Sign Language Interpreters
- World Federation of the Deaf Young Section
- "FAQ". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "World federation of the Deaf's entry on the website of the United Nations". Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "Mission and objectives". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
- "Fact Sheet". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Policy – Education rights for Deaf children". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Policy – Work Done by Member Organisations in Developing Countries". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Policy – WFD Work in Developing Countries". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "World Congress". World Federation of the Deaf. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- History of WASLI