The EUD Board was invited to a seminar hosted by the Lithuanian Deaf Association last night, 20 September 2013. EUD President Dr Markku Jokinen from Finland opened the session in Vilnius together with the President of the Lithuanian NAD, Roma Kleckovskaja and introduced the EUD Board that had flown in from all over Europe for the upcoming EUD Board Meeting.
The President of EUDY, the European Union of the Deaf Youth, Ronan Dunne also explained its Board structure and work. EUDY stressed the importance of the co-operation between EUD and EUDY, following the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Mark Wheatley, the EUD Executive Director, gave a brief overview of the situation of Deaf sign language users in Europe and introduced EUD’s work and its structure, as well as its history. In particular, the Executive Director gave insights to statistics regarding the ratio of sign language interpreters to sign language users in different EU countries. He also summarised important parts of the EUD Book: Sign Language Legislation in the European Union from 2012. After briefly introducing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Mark Wheatley presented European level legislation and recommendations, including the Brussels Declaration from 2010 that was co-signed by the Lithuanian Deaf Association. He stressed the importance of joint co-operation between the Deaf Associations and EUD to ensure the dissemination of good practices all across Europe and beyond.
Dennis Hoogeveen, recently appointed EUDY Executive Officer, presented the aims and objectives of the organisation, its current work programme, as well as its working groups. EUDY works towards empowering young Deaf sign language users and their representative organisations. EUDY hopes that the young Deaf people in Lithuania will also be able to set up its own independent youth section to join EUDY in the near future, as well as other youth organisations around Europe. EUDY is currently hosting the first Baltic Youth Seminar to train Deaf youth in the region.
After the formal presentations, the audience engaged in discussions and posed important questions to both EUD and EUDY. The questions ranged from education to human rights and the future of the Deaf Community in Lithuania.
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Memorandum of Understanding EUD – EUDY:
Lithuanian Deaf Association:
UNCRPD full text:
UNCRPD International Sign version: