5 Things You Can Learn from WFD President Colin Allen Opening Statement

WFD Colin Allen Opening Statement

Written by Thomsen Young and you can follow him @
On July 6th, 2015, WFD President Colin Allen kicked off the 22nd International Congress on the Education of the Deaf with his Opening Statement titled, “Full Accessibility to Deaf Education through Sign Language”. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was founded in Rome, Italy in 1951. At this time, in its’ first World Congress, only 25 national countries were represented. Now, in 2015, there are 134 national countries (or National Associations of the Deaf) that are represented today. For more information on their history, check out their website.

Now here are 5 Things You Can Learn from WFD President Colin Allen Opening Statement:

1. Adoption of Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has not been fully implemented.

What does that mean?

It means that the “WFD has noticed with concern that the implementation has not been successful as envisaged because national governments do not have an understanding of how education should be provided in a sign language environment”.

2. Right of deaf children to receive sign language is not secured.
What does that mean?

According to this video, Iran is still struggling to obtain the right for deaf children to receive sign language in school. This is not only the case in Iran, but all over the world, in which, developed and developing countries has not improved over the years in developing rights for children to sign in school and/or in their homes. In fact, Iran is closing deaf schools and banning the use of sign language.

3. Inclusive education

What does that mean?

Colin Allen believes that Inclusive education is “about respecting diversity based on deaf culture, and the linguistic and cultural identity of deaf children”. He believes that for a person to truly grow into individuals and citizens with full potential is that they must have a “truly inclusive education”.

4. Making Article 24 of CRPD a “reality”.

What does that mean?

There’s still tons of work needed to be done in order for Article 24 to be labeled a success. Deaf education is still struggling in many parts of the world and WFD wants to work with teachers, researchers and professionals to make sure that deaf children receive quality education in sign language.

5. Milan 1880 Congress banned the use of sign language from education programmes for deaf children is still in effect.

What does that mean?

It means that it is still in effect, however, the New Era Document, accepted by ICED in 2010, reject the resolution of the Milan 1880 Congress that banned the use of sign language from education programmes for deaf children.


The XVII World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf will take place in Istanbul, Turkey from 28 July – 1 August, 2015. Events of this XVII World Congress surround the theme, “Strengthening Human Diversity”. It aims to promote deaf people as a part of the global human diversity and to strengthen human diversity in the global deaf community. Lectures, workshops, panel discussions, meetings, booth presentations and entertainment as well are a part of this event.

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