International Week of the Deaf (IWD) is celebrated annually by Deaf people and allies worldwide, and is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). The WFD offers a variety of events, marches, debates, campaigns, and meetings to highlight issues of human rights with local and national governments. IWD also aims to increase solidarity among Deaf people and their allies, and is used as an opportunity to encourage efforts to promote the rights of Deaf people worldwide.

International Week of the Deaf was launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy. Recognition of IWD is important; this event emphasizes advocacy designed to raise awareness of the deaf community worldwide, and how governments can impact the lives of deaf people.

The theme of this year’s International Week of the Deaf is: With Sign Language, I am Equal. The theme is a tribute to recognize the 65th Anniversary of World Federation of the Deaf, to commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the Adoption of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and to acknowledge the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Why is it important for RID members to be involved? Our profession is centered on the communication needs of Deaf people.  Many Deaf people worldwide communicate through their native sign language – here in the United States, it is American Sign Language.  We believe that access to language, including sign language, is a basic human right, as outlined in the CRPD.

We will be sharing a total of five messages on various related topics this week.  This is the first one. The second day we will recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Yerker Andersson. In the third day, we will showcase CRPD. In the fourth day, we will focus on World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI).  We hope that you enjoy the information, and we also hope that you share the messages with other people.

Your deep commitment to enhancing the lives of Deaf people is an integral part in the success of RID, and for that, we thank you.

Message from Colin Allen, WFD President:

For more information about the International Week of the Deaf:

To donate to World Federation of the Deaf: