Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

International Day of Sign Languages


The proposal for the Day came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide. The resolution A/RES/72/161 was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, co-sponsored by 97 United Nations Member States and adopted by consensus on 19 December 2017.

The choice of 23 September commemorates the date that the WFD was established in 1951. This day marks the birth of an advocacy organisation, which has as one of its main goals, the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realisation of the human rights of deaf people.

The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.

International Week of the Deaf People 2021 and International Day of Sign Languages 2021

The International Week of the Deaf People (IWDP) is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and was first launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy. It is celebrated annually by the global Deaf Community during the last full week of September to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held. The International Week of the Deaf People is celebrated through various activities by Deaf Communities all around the world. These activities and events welcome the participation of all members of deaf communities, which include families of deaf people, professional and accredited sign language interpreters, peers, as well as the involvement of various stakeholders such as national governments, national and international human rights organizations, and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities

Theme for 2021:

Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities
20 to 26 september 2021


Daily themes
Date Theme
Monday 20 September 2021 Cherishing Deaf History
Tuesday 21 September 2021 Sustainable Deaf Leadership
Wednesday 22 September 2021 Sign languages for All Deaf Learners
Thursday 23 September 2021 We Sign for Human Rights!
Friday 24 September 2021 Intersectional Deaf Communities
Saturday 25 September 2021 Deaf Culture and Arts
Sunday 26 September 2021 Human Rights in Times of Crisis


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