Asif Iqbal at the World Federation of the Deaf Congress 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey
The Turkish Federation National of the Deaf has successfully hosted the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)’s XVII World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey on 28th July to 2nd August, 2015.
The WFD has a consultative status within the Un [/]ited Nations (UN) system. In this role, the WFD works closely with the UN and its various agencies in promoting the human rights of deaf people in accordance with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The WFD’s XVII World Congress took place, with the main theme as “Strengthening Human Diversity” is of outmost importance due to the fact that it is organised every four years in different cities of the world and contributes to making important decisions for national policies and for the United Nations through ideas and solutions produced and offered through hosting scientific presentations concerning every aspect and issue of the human life.
“Strengthening Human Diversity” as a main theme for the world congress was chosen for two key reasons. Firstly, to recognise deaf people as a part of human diversity, and secondly, to recognise and strengthen diversity in every deaf community globally including children, youth, senior citizens, women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGTB) people, deaf people with disabilities, deafblind people and CODA (Children Of Deaf Adults), whether in developed or developing countries, and to continue working together in the areas of sign language, deaf studies, education, employment, accessibility, technology, health and bioethics.
A total of 1,400 people from 94 different countries attended the World Congress together with 110 International speakers who gave presentations relating to the main theme; 90 sign language interpreters; and the conference was translated into 45 regional sign languages worldwide. What we have learn from another countries:
- Give empowerment and encouragement to Deaf and hard of hearing people, looking at ways of how they can support themselves and their communities in term of community development, human rights, removing barriers/ oppressions and strengthen human diversity.
- Model of good practices of how Deaf and Hearing people work well in partnership by encouraging deaf people to be fully participants, empowering them and enabling deaf people to have their voice heard. As a result, the communities become stronger and united on various issues affecting deaf communities.
- Modern Technology of the future, how 3D design and modern technologies benefit deaf people especially in the developing countries including promoting the uses of video relay services and captioning services worldwide. It is crucial for the local council to ensure their information videos are in BSL and subtitled to enable deaf people to have access to information and advice. This fit well with the Care Act 2014 and a guidance on how to ensure video/ websites be made more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people, would need to be developed.
- British Deaf Association announced at the World Congress that they have donated £2,000, to support Nepal Deaf Association toward their much-needed deaf school and a large cheque was presented to the President of Nepal Deaf Association.
- WFD encourages representatives from each country across the world to attend the World Congress. It was the very first time that WFD has representatives from both the North Korea Deaf Association and South Korean Deaf Association and it was with the support of WFD official who facilitated both representatives to attend. Despite their political differences and the crisis faced in both countries, it was the first time that deaf people from North Korea and South Korea met and embraced each other at the WFD’s World Congress.
- A fantastic model from Canada on supporting deaf older people to reduce their isolation and promoting use of technology by providing each one with iPad. Through their project, evidence showed with right support/ mentor from young deaf people to older deaf people, older deaf people thrives on social interaction and becoming more sharper on knowledge as result of the use of IPad technology and the fact that they were able to ‘FaceTime’ each other make it so much easier to keep in touch with each other and their loved ones despite living few hours from each other in Canada. Like UK, deaf people in Canada are dispersed across the country and attending local deaf club is proving more difficult as deaf people get older. Also with the use of iPad, deaf older people were able to communicate with other staff eg in residential care home by use of instant messaging app and to liaise with providers by using interpreter from video relay services instantly. This would fit in very well with the UK’s Care Act on promoting independent and prevention of deteriorating in their well-being.
- UK representatives gave presentations at the World Congress on various themes including Specialist Deaf Mental health services for deaf children and their families; DeafRoot Project (Northern Ireland) on empowering deaf youth and Sabina Iqbal of Deaf Parenting UK, sharing organisational model and good practices. All of them are unique and each of them is seen as pioneers with their services are the first in the world.
- The World Congress take places once every 4 years and there was a fierce competition between the two bidders for the next World Congress – Paris and Hong Kong. Paris won by 38 votes and Hong Kong closely followed with 35 votes (a difference of 3 votes). WFD was pleased with the outcome and look forward to seeing us all at the next WFD Congress in Paris on July 2019.
It was an amazing experience to be part of the World Congress 2015, and so many Deaf International Speakers on the theme of Strengthening Human Diversity, showing what we can do, learning and sharing information with each other.
To learn more, please see World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)’s website