WFD Foreword from WFD President Colin Allen

Dear Friends,

Once again, 2015 has been a hectic and rewarding year for us.

The XVII World Congress of the WFD in Istanbul was an unforgettable experience. We had more than 1,390 participants from 97 countries, 111 presentations that were mostly by deaf presenters, and over more than 45 sign languages. We would like to thank everyone who responded to the World Congress evaluation that was sent out. Congratulations to Alda Padeiro Batory (Denmark) for winning the surprise gift after responding to the evaluation survey!  With France winning the bid to host the World Congress 2019 in Paris, we will build on these valuable feedbacks to guide the next Organising Committee led by the National Federation of the Deaf of France.

Aside from our quadrennial world congress, there will be upcoming WFD forums that you can look out such as the 5th WFD Asia Conference held in Singapore from 4-6 October 2016, and the 3rd International Conference of the WFD convening from 8-10 November 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. These platforms provide an excellent opportunity for deaf individuals from all around the world to gather and network.

On the matter of unity, we are pleased to witness the global Deaf Community unite during the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) 2015. We have enjoyed watching our campaign materials being locally adapted in various ways. Thank you for creating a powerful and coordinated movement to promote the linguistic rights of deaf children. Even though the IWD 2015 has concluded, the crowdfunding campaign continues until 31 December 2015. I strongly urge that you make a difference by donating now at

As for IWD 2016, we are happy to announce that it will take place from 19-25 September, under the theme ‘With Sign Language, I am Equal’. The importance of sign language cannot be overstated. Without actual recognition, facilitation and promotion of sign language, goals of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the recently adopted Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), cannot be fully achieved. We are currently developing the campaign materials and hope to launch it early April 2016. We seek your patience and support to make IWD 2016 even bigger and stronger!

Despite our accomplishments over the last four years (WFD Report 2011-2014), there is still a lot of work ahead. To do so, we strive to initiate developments in accordance to the recently adopted WFD Action Plan 2016-2019. It is important for us to use our time wisely and move forward as decisively and swiftly as we can to achieve goals of the action plan. As such, the initial planning has already begun when the newly appointed Board Members of the WFD and WFD Youth Section (WFDYS) met in Belfast, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in November 2015. We were inspired by the enthusiasm displayed by the WFDYS Board and hope to maintain a close cooperation with our youth. The success of this meeting would not have been possible without the commitment of the Board Members as well as the warm hospitality provided by the British Deaf Association (BDA).

In addition to this productive meeting, we have also successfully received funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland to execute a 2-year organisational capacity building project in the Maghreb region. The grant has made it possible for us to open a new position titled ‘WFD Project Officer (Human Rights Project in Maghreb Region)’. Interested parties are encouraged to read the job description before applying. For further enquiries or to apply, email to Ms Meri Hyrske-Fischer, WFD Team Leader, at by Wednesday, 23 December at 17:00 (GMT+2).

To meaningfully mark the closing of the year, instead of sending seasons’ greetings paper cards to your loved ones, I highly encourage you to donate to the WFD in exchange for our e-Card specially prepared for you. The e-Card is available in 11 different languages. You can download your preferred language here and donate (any amount) through our online donation page.

I would like to wish all of you happy holidays and a prosperous New Year!

Colin Allen

WFD President