Last Week, Asif Iqbal MBE, President of Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club visited the 3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), Budapest, Hungary (9-11th November 2017). Here, Asif shared an insight to the conference and the people he met during the conference….
WFD and Hungarian Deaf Association who hosted the Conference explained the importance of the International Conference and why we all are here:
“The conference theme ‘Full Inclusion with Sign Language’ has been selected to convey a very powerful and uplifting message, by which we hope to educate and inspire all of you to challenge yourselves and gather information which will enable you to stand strong in your individual rights as a deaf person."
“The aim of the conference is to give each of you the opportunity to fully participate, share and discuss how to continue your important work in achieving human rights of deaf people using the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The conference theme is the belief that the full social inclusion of deaf people is possible if sign language is recognised and used widely within society."
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (who used a little bit of sign language!) addressed the conference participants. Viktor Orban has just affirmed Hungary’s commitment to supporting sign language in Hungary and the world over; says Hungary will offer full support at UN level for an International Day of Sign Language
Colin Allen, World Federation of Deaf President announced that the United Nations is now considering proclaiming an International Day of Sign Languages after lobbying from the World Federation of the Deaf – very exciting news and a milestone for Deaf communities around the world.
Hungarian government Minister Zoltan Balog announced that 9th November will henceforth be Hungarian Sign Language Day.
One of the keynote speakers – Hend Alshowaier … discussing Deaf Employment in Saudi Arabia explained: “Organisations hiring People with Disabilities are obligated to adapt the working environment.” “All things must be accessible for Deaf people.”
Liisa Kauppinen, WFD President Emerita addressed the opening ceremony on the first day of the conference. Asif explained: “Liisa is the only Deaf recipient of the United Nations’ Peace Prize and it is always amazing to be in her presence, given her tremendous work with the WFD and fighting for Deaf people’s human rights."
More information about Liisa’s achievements and the Peace Prize: https://wfdeaf.org/news/former-wfd-president-liisa-kauppinen-receives-2013-united-nations-human-rights-award-prize-2/
It was a pleasure to meet Dr Roberta Cordano, President of Gallaudet University. Asif admired her as she broke the glass ceiling and became a first-ever Deaf female President of Gallaudet University. She was a Facilitator of the Panel Discussion: ‘Our Rights, Our Votes’.
More information: http://www.gallaudet.edu/office-of-the-president/presidents-profile
As a previous visitor of Gallaudet University’s summer program, Asif said it was lovely to meet Ros Rozen and Dr Joseph Murray, Vice President of WFD and Gallaudet Univesity, USA.
Asif met up with two admirable deaf role models in Politic – Dr Adam Kosa MEP, Hungary and Ms Helga Stevens, MEP Belgium. It was inspirational meeting them and hearing how they broke through barriers to get where they are and do some positive work in European Parliament.
For more information about both MEPs as follow:
Hela Stevens MEP of Belguim: http://helgastevens.eu/en
Dr Adam Kosa MEP of Hungary:
Joel Barish, a well-known Deaf traveller, gave a presentation the power of social media to Deaf people and his experience travelling across worldwide, visiting Deaf communities.
For information about his travel, look up his website: www.joelbarish.com
Asif gave a poster session on ‘How to influence Govt’s decision making? The Role of Public Appointment – making your voices counts" which took place at the 3rd International Conference of the WFD in Budapest, Hungary 2017.