New York, 23 September 2022 (TDI): The world celebrates the International Day of Sign Languages on the 23rd of September every year as part of the International Week of the Deaf.

The international community celebrated International Week of the Deaf in 1958 for the first time in history. The last week of September is commemorated as the International Week of the Deaf.

About the Day

On, September 23rd, 2018 marked the first International Sign Language Day. The proposal for the Day came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD).

The resolution A/RES/72/161, was sponsored by 97 member states of the United Nations and was adopted on 19 December 2017.

The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Sign languages unite us”. This day highlights the importance of sign language, inclusivity, and the everyday challenges of deaf people.

Governments and civil society celebrate this day in recognition of linguistic diversity as part of diverse and vibrant cultures. This day highlights the unique identity of deaf communities all over the world.

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World Federation of Deaf

The World Federation of Deaf (WFD) was established in 1951 on the 23rd of September. It is a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing over 70 million deaf people.

The international community chose 23rd September to celebrate WFD’s birth as an organization fighting for the rights of the deaf. WFD aims at preserving the cultural diversity of the deaf community by preserving sign languages as part of their human rights.

According to the World Federation of Deaf, there are over 70 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. There are over 300 different sign languages and there is also an “international sign language”.

This international sign language is a form of pidgin, a lesser complex, and easy-to-understand version. Deaf people use it during international meetings and to converse while traveling with other sign language users.

World Federation of Deaf asks for the promotion of quality education in sign language and its accessible learning platforms. Along with that, it urges the governments to give national sign languages the same status as other national languages too.

This organization also invites all monuments, public landmarks, and official buildings, to be spotlighted in blue light on the 23rd of September. This blue light is a symbol of solidarity with the deaf community.