The 28th WFD RSA Representatives Meetings and the 5th Asia Conference were held in Singapore from 11 to 13 and 14 to 16 October 2016 respectively.
The welcome message by Mr. Yasunori Shimamoto, Director of World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia (WFD RSA) marked the grand opening of the 28th WFD RSA Representatives Meetings. There were 22 sessions including 16 abstract presentations and 6 keynote presenters on their title presentations.
“I am confident that this will give you the insight and perfect opportunity to interact and discuss future improvement for our countries.” said WFD RSA Regional Director Mr. Shimamoto.
22 delegates from 13 Ordinary Members of the WFD attended the WFD RSA Representatives Meetings in YWCA Fort Canning Lodge. This was the annual meeting in the Asian region for discussion on issues on the development of Deaf communities in Asia.
“In Asia region, we emphasize that sign languages are equivalent to spoken languages, and that sign languages are life itself for Deaf people.” WFD RSA Regional Director Mr. Shimamoto continued, “With all of you, I would like to make contribution for secure access to information and communication for Deaf people.”
During the three consecutive days from 11 to 13 October, two other meetings were also host concurrently, which were the 8th WFD RSA Youth Section Representatives Meeting and 7th Meeting of Sign Language Interpreters in Asia. These meetings were golden opportunities for youth empowerment for leadership development for the youth community in Asia, while for interpreters the opportunities for brainstorming ideas on the improvement of interpretation services in the region.
Following the closing of the WFD RSA Representatives Meetings, the 5th Asia Conference was held in NTUC Centre from 14 to 16 October with the theme “Embracing Diversity in Deaf Communities” with a total of 392 participants including the RSA delegates, international delegates, and consisted of presenters, Singapore delegates, VIPs, interpreters, volunteers and staff, etc.
Simultaneous sign language interpreting (in both Singapore Sign Language and International Sign) and CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) were available, in response to the opening address of the meetings by WFD RSA Regional Director Mr. Shimamoto that “to secure access to information and communication for Deaf people”. These couldn’t be carried out without the great efforts of the interpreters team.
The Asia Conference this year was a remarkable event for the WFD Regional Secretariat for Asia, not only because it was a global forum for discussion on issues and ideas related and relevant to Deaf development, but also because it had been 20 years since the last Conference was held in Malaysia.
During the Asia Conference, we were honored to have 6 keynote presenters and 18 abstract presenters. Crucial deaf-related topics on education, interpretation, language, and community were shared.
One of the Highlights of the Presentations:
“WFD and WASLI working in partnership with the global Deaf community and sign language interpreters community” delivered by Mr. Colin Allen and Dr. Debra Russell, President of World Federation of the Deaf and President of World Association of Sign Language Interpreters.
Last but not least, World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia expressed the deepest gratitude to the host the Singapore Association for the Deaf, the host country Singapore Government, and to all the participants. The meetings and the conference as a whole was a platform to share knowledge and information to ensure that our Deaf people have the opportunity to participate in the activities such as youth camp, sports, workshops and seminars in Asia. With this aim, they will build self-confidence, leadership qualities and deaf pride.