ICED and the Canadian Deaf Community Begin A New Era of Collaboration!

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ICED and the Canadian Deaf Community Begin A New Era of Collaboration!

July 23, 2010

On 19 July 2010 in Vancouver, B.C., the International Congress on Education of the Deaf announced the rejection of the resolutions of the Milan Congress of 1880 which banned the use of Sign language in educational programs for Deaf children Before an audience of nearly 800 delegates from around the world, an agreement was signed by four representatives: Claire Anderson on behalf of ICED, Doug Momotiuk on behalf of CAD, Markku Jokinen on behalf of the World Federation of the Deaf, and Wayne Sinclair on behalf of the B.C. Deaf community.

It was a highly emotional moment for the many Deaf people in attendance. The 1880 Milan resolutions had resulted in generations of extremely damaging actions and attitudes towards the Deaf all over the world, not only in regards to education but also employment, public perceptions of the abilities of Deaf people, political and social participation, mental and physical health, and community development.

The agreement explicitly rejects the Milan resolutions and formally expresses ICED’s regret at the damage they had done to the Deaf populace. It officially recognizes the validity of Deaf culture and the inclusion of Sign language in educational programs. The agreement concludes with a strong vow of all partners to work together closely to benefit and improve the lives and well-being of Deaf persons.

The CAD would like to thank those committee members who worked tirelessly during negotiations, especially Wayne Sinclair, Nigel Howard.and Monte Hardy. It could not have been achieved without their persistence, determination, dedication, and sympathy for the positions and feelings of all participants. We also thank Claire Anderson and Joe McLaughlin for their leadership on behalf of ICED, and to all of those organizations and individuals who wrote letters and posted vlogs in support of this important achievement.

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Vancouver 2010

A New Era: Deaf Participation and Collaboration

In partnership, the International Congress on Education of the Deaf ICED) Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee and the British Columbia Deaf Community present the following as a Statement of Principle.

Globally, many Deaf citizens encounter the general population’s perception of being Deaf as one of disability. This “disability mindset” contributes directly towards the exclusion and devaluation of all people who are considered “different” including those who are Deaf. As a result, Deaf citizens in many countries are still hindered and excluded from participation in the larger society. Many are prevented from equal access to decision making, employment opportunities, and quality education.

Despite this ‘disability mindset’, Deaf citizens positively contribute to societies that embrace diversity and creativity. They enhance their nations in areas of education, economic activity, politics, arts and literature. For Deaf people, it is an inalienable right to be acknowledged as a linguistic and cultural minority integral to every society.

Therefore, all nations are urged to recognize and facilitate participation from all its citizens, including those who are Deaf.

The resolutions of the 1880 ICED Congress in Milan

In 1880 an international congress was held in Milan to discuss education of the Deaf. At that time, the members passed several resolutions that affected the education and the lives of Deaf people around the world. The resolutions:

Removed the use of sign languages from educational programs for the Deaf around the world;

Contributed detrimentally to the lives of Deaf citizens around the world;
Led to the exclusion of Deaf citizens in educational policy and planning in most jurisdictions of the world;
Prevented Deaf citizens from participation in governmental planning, decision-making, and funding in areas of employment training, retraining and other aspects of career planning;
Hindered the abilities of Deaf citizens to succeed in various careers and have prevented many of them from following their own aspirations; and Prevented the opportunity for many Deaf citizens to fully demonstrate their cultural and artistic contributions to the diversity of each Nation.

Therefore we: Reject all resolutions passed at the ICED Milan Congress in 1880 that denied the inclusion of sign languages in educational programs for Deaf students; Acknowledge and sincerely regret the detrimental effects of the Milan conference; and Call upon all Nations of the world to remember history and ensure that educational programs accept and respect all languages and all forms of communication.

International Congress on the Education of the Deaf, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 19th , 2010. Accord for the Future Let it be stated that we, the undersigned, Call upon all Nations of the world to ratify and adhere to the Principles of the United Nations, specifically those outlined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that state education is to be delivered with an emphasis on acquisition of language and academic, practical, and social knowledge;

Call upon all Nations to endorse the resolutions adopted by the World Federation of the Deaf at its 15th Congress in Madrid in 2007 specifically those that promote and support equal and appropriate access to a multi-lingual/multi-cultural education;

Call upon all Nations to include the sign languages of their Deaf citizens as legitimate languages of these Nations and to treat them as equal to those of the hearing majority;

Call upon all Nations to facilitate, enhance and embrace their Deaf citizens’ participation in all governmental decision making process affecting all aspects of their lives;

Call upon all Nations to involve their Deaf citizens to assist parents of Deaf infants, children and youth in the appreciation of the Deaf culture and sign languages;

Call upon all Nations to support a child-centred approach in educational programs and a family-centred approach in all support services for both Deaf and hearing family members;

Call upon all Nations to refer all identified Deaf infants to regional and national organizations of the Deaf, schools and programs for the Deaf for support with early intervention;

Call upon all Nations to make every effort to ensure that their Deaf citizens obtain information about their human rights; and Call upon all Nations of the world to recognize and allow all Deaf citizens to be proud, confident, productive, creative and enabling citizens in their respective countries.