Mr Colin Allen, President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) since July 2011 and a WFD board member since 2003, today became Chair-elect of the International Disability Alliance (IDA). This occurred in Bangkok, Thailand, where IDA is holding its annual General Assembly. His two-year term as the IDA Chair will start on 1 July 2016 and continue until 30 June 2018, with him succeeding Ms Maryanne Diamond, AO (Immediate Past President of the World Blind Union). Mr Allen, who will continue as the First Vice-Chair of IDA until 30 June 2016, is only the second deaf person to serve as the Chair of IDA, a global organisation promoting the rights of one billion persons with disabilities all over the world. The WFD was one of the founding members of IDA upon its establishment in 1999.
“I feel honoured to walk in the footsteps of my mentor, 2013 UN Human Rights Award Recipient, Dr Liisa Kauppinen, who was the first deaf IDA Chair from 1999 to 2000. During the past five years, WFD has seen IDA grow from a loose network of DPOs into a significant, professionally led organisation with paid staff. I am thrilled that I have been given the opportunity to lead the work of IDA in collaboration with my colleagues from other global and regional DPOs as well as with the skilled staff members of the IDA Secretariat.” said WFD President Colin Allen.
As each IDA member has one seat on the Board of IDA, the WFD Board will nominate a substitute to replace Mr Allen effective 1 July 2016. Thus, in IDA meetings, the WFD will be represented by a new person with Mr Allen serving as the Chair. “I am very pleased that as a deaf sign language user, I will be able to advance IDA goals and promote its vision in my own language – sign language – and perhaps through my international leadership hasten the removal of barriers experienced by other deaf people in the world, thereby pursuing and fulfilling the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals.” commented WFD President Colin Allen.