President’s Foreword – September 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to welcome International Week of the Deaf (IWD). The theme for this year is ‘Full Inclusion with Sign Language’, a motto that the WFD constantly promotes and advocates. IWD is the perfect opportunity to spread the theme and create global awareness on the importance of sign language for the Deaf Community. We have created campaign materials including the IWD 2017 Toolkit and Letter of Support for all of you to use freely. Download them at the IWD 2017 webpage here.

Advocating for inclusion does not happen overnight. It requires active participation from the WFD in important international forums to create presence and increase awareness on importance of sign language. In this September newsletter issue, I am pleased to share how the WFD is doing our part to promote full inclusion with sign language.


In July 2017, we attended the High Level Political Forum (HLPF). This forum is where the State Members of the United Nations and its specialised agencies meet, review and follow-up the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I was present at this meeting, representing both the WFD and IDA, along with WFD Human Rights Officer Eeva Tupi and WFD-IDA Fellow Daniel Ocampo. Because of the attendance of deaf individuals, International Sign was provided for the first time in history. We actively collaborated with the Stakeholder Groups of Persons with Disabilities (SGPWD). Representing the SGPWD, Eeva Tupi delivered an intervention. The SGPWD also contributed to the inclusion of references on persons with disabilities in the ministerial declaration. To learn about Eeva Tupi’s intervention at the HLPF and find out if your country is up for the next review in 2018 and what you can do to ensure that the deaf perspectives are included, read more here.


All of this would not have been possible without the provision of professional interpretation. In view of this, the WFD does not settle for less. We know that if quality is compromised, human rights of the deaf is breached. This motivates us to pursue further our work with WASLI.

Through joint attendance at recent international events, WFD and WASLI seek to strengthen the cause of improving access to and the quality of sign language interpretation. Moreover, our work takes on a greater urgency in the context of the refugee crisis and disruptions caused by technological advancements.  Read more about the WFD and WASLI’s joint attendance at #FITCongress and the 3rd Latin America Sign Language Interpreters Meeting, why it was important for us to be there, and what was jointly promoted. 

One concrete example of our work is the WFD-WASLI International Sign Interpreter Accreditation, which was established to address the increasing participation of deaf individuals in international arena. To ensure quality of such interpretation, we accredit practitioners annually. We were also present at the #efsli2017 to promote and encourage practitioners to apply. The Call for Application is currently ongoing until 6 October 2017. Pass on to as many people in your network and encourage those who are eligible to apply. For more information, read here.


Be sure to check the following updates:

  • Members, Regional Secretariat and Partners News’, a newly added section, to learn more about their developments.
  • WFD and WASLI Guidelines on Securing and Utilising the Services of Sign Language Interpreters for the United Nations at our ‘Resource’ page here
  • Check out updates on the 3rd International Conference of the WFD.

On a closing note, Happy International Week of the Deaf!

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