This week is very special because it marks a worldwide celebration of Deaf people, our culture, our language, and our achievements. “International Week of the Deaf” (IWDeaf) is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) that was launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy, to promote solidarity among deaf people and our supporters, and provides an opportunity to stimulate greater efforts to promote the global rights of deaf people.

IWDeaf includes today, the third annual International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL). IDSL is observed every year on September 23, This year’s theme is “Sign Languages are for Everyone!” In 2018, the United Nations affirmed the World Federation of the Deaf’s proposal to inaugurate the International Day of Sign Languages, recognizing the important role that sign languages play in social, cultural, economic, and political life.

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages. Sign languages are fully-fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from spoken languages.

Gallaudet University is proud to support the mission of the World Federation of the Deaf, and joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Day of Sign Languages! #IDSignLanguages #IWDeaf

There are two virtual celebrations commemorating #IDSL2020 today!

The School of Language, Education, and Society hosted a Zoom webinar featuring graduate students and alumni. They discussed their work with the sign languages of Argentina, Canada, Iran, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam.


The Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies is hosting a virtual panel featuring several speakers, including Dr. Joseph Murray, president of the World Federation of the Deaf.