International Week of Deaf People 2023

A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere! A single theme for 2 events 

Welcome to Irish Sign Language Awareness Week 2023

From Monday 18th September to the following Sunday, Deaf people all over the world celebrate “International Week of Deaf People 2023.” This is an annual event promoted by the World Federation of the Deaf and the theme this year is “A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere! 

In Ireland, led by the Irish Deaf Society, the Deaf Community celebrates this week by hosting “Irish Sign Language Awareness Week”.  Each day has a different theme and Deaf organisations will have a mix of online and face to face events throughout the week.  


The Irish Deaf Society has asked members of the Deaf community, local Deaf organisations, National Council members and Deaf schools if they would like to organise an event relating to a theme: see below  

  • Monday 18 September: Declaration of the Rights of the Deaf Child
    The XXI WFD General Assembly will consider a proposal to inaugurate a Declaration of the Rights of the Deaf Child.  Today we call upon global communities to showcase how they are working to achieve these rights.  You can share videos on social media, and host seminars and events highlighting these rights, and what remains to achieve these rights for every deaf child.
  • Tuesday 19 September: Building Capacity Across the Globe  
    Around the world, millions of deaf people still lack access to basic human rights.  The WFD has inaugurated a 60 Country Project with the aim of building capacities in deaf communities across the globe, particularly in the 60+ UN Member States which do not have national associations of deaf people.  Join us in supporting deaf communities in these countries by hosting awareness-raising events on deaf lives around the world in your local communities, by supporting deaf communities in the global south, and by donating to the WFD’s work at here.
  • Wednesday 20 September: Realising “Nothing Without Us”
    Deaf communities are experts on deaf lives.  CRPD Article 4.3 makes it clear that governments have an obligation to consult with organisations of deaf people on all matters related to deaf people.  The WFD believes that this principle is also applicable to other projects and activities. Representative deaf organisations must be involved from the beginning in all projects and initiatives to do with deaf people and sign languages. On this day, highlight your collaboration with deaf communities!  
  • Link to Position Paper on the primacy of deaf people in the development and teaching of national sign languages:
  • Thursday 21 September: Putting Deaf People on the Agenda
    Deaf communities worldwide work to ensure policies and programs reflect the lived realities of deaf people’s lives.  Today we call upon national governments, international institutions, research centres, and policymaking bodies to centre deaf people in their work.  There is still a significant lack of data on deaf people’s lives and less on the right to use national sign languages.  Today we highlight the research done on deaf lives to date and call for more disaggregated data collection and monitoring of deaf people and sign languages. 
  • Friday 22 September: Achieving Sign Language Rights for All
    The legal recognition of national sign languages is an important step towards achieving basic human rights for all deaf people.  60% of State Parties to the CRPD still have not achieved legal recognition of their national sign languages.  Legal recognition is a process that allows for greater awareness of deaf people’s linguistic and cultural rights and paves the way for social change.  Today, we encourage the sharing of stories of what the legal recognition of sign languages has meant for you and your communities
  • Saturday 23 September: International Day of Sign Languages: A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere
    Today, we share the WFD’s vision of a world where deaf people everywhere can sign anywhere.  A world where deaf people are seen as a part of the natural range of human diversity, and national sign languages are celebrated and used everywhere as part of national societies.  The WFD calls upon all governments to take measures to ensure at least 50% of their children and youth know their national sign languages, as a step towards building societies in which deaf people everywhere can sign anywhere. 
  • Sunday 24 September: Building Inclusive Deaf Communities
    We end this International Week of Deaf People by highlighting the many ways in which our communities represent the broad array of diverse human experiences to be found across the globe.  Deaf people are everywhere, and represented in every national, cultural, linguistic and ethnic group.  This is a strength of our communities.  Today, the WFD calls upon our deaf communities to recognize and take specific actions to ensure our communities are inclusive of all deaf people 

You can contact IDS Advocacy Team by email – or text 086 440 1443 for more information 

Keep an eye out on our social media – FacebookTwitterInstagram for IDS online events on that week – 18th to 24th September. Enjoy! #IWDP23 #IWDP #IDSL #ISLAwarenessWeek

Irish Deaf Society