Photo - left to right: Collin Allen (President of WFD), Alanis Miller (Jordanstown pupil), Cecilia Hanhikoski (President of Youth Section of WFD), Sue Barry (Deaf Roots and Pride UK Manager, BDA), Anne P Magee (Jordanstown Principle), Dr Terry Riley OBE (Chairman of BDA and board member of WFD) and Trevor McCormick (Jordanstown pupil).

British Deaf Association hosts World Federation of the Deaf & World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section at Jordanstown School, Northern Ireland

To celebrate the British Deaf Association (BDA)’s 125th anniversary, the organisation has hosted the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) & World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS) in Belfast from 2-6 November 2015 for the first meetings of the two newly appointed Boards.

In addition to a Civic award ceremony at Belfast City Hall, Jordanstown School (a school for deaf children and children with visual impairments) invited BDA and members of the WFD to meet with the deaf pupils and inspire them with an array of motivational talks.

Amongst the attendees were Colin Allen, President of WFD and Cecilia Hanhikoski, President of Youth Section of WFD. The momentous occasion served its purpose of proving to the deaf children that anything is possible with a positive attitude and to always follow your dreams.

Anne P Magee, Principal, Jordanstown School stated:

“It has been a day filled with excitement and joy at Jordanstown School and it was incredible to see our pupils so inspired by the international WFD delegates. The children were not only able to hear talks from prestigious Deaf role models but they were also able to learn about the progress being made for the Deaf community on a global level.” Anne P Magee, Principal, Jordanstown School

Majella McAteer, Community Development Manager, BDA:

“It has been such an honor hosting the newly appointed WFD & WFDYS here in Belfast. The visit to Jordanstown School has certainly been a highlight for us at BDA since inspiring the younger Deaf generation is of great importance to us. We are so grateful to the WFD delegates who gave their time and have left such a positive impact on the pupils today.”


Additional attendees included:

Dr Terry Riley (Chairman of BDA and board member of WFD)

Damian Barry (Director of Community Development & Operations, BDA)

Susan Barry (Deaf Roots and Pride UK Manager, BDA)

BDA, a registered charity which has been a pioneer and champion of Deaf people since it was founded in 1890, stands for Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of Choice (DEAF). The BDA’s primary goal is to achieve legal status for BSL/ISL. The BDA champions the rights of Deaf people to use BSL/ISL as their first or preferred languages. BSL/ISL are languages in their own rights, separate and distinct from the UK’s other indigenous languages. Although the BDA is a national organisation, it was founded in 1890 by an Irish man called Francis Maginn who lived and worked for many years in Belfast.

World Federation of the Deaf is an international non-governmental organisation representing and promoting the human rights of approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. The WFD is a federation of 132 nations with one national member for each country. It has a consultative status in the United Nations and is a member of International Disability Alliance (IDA).

The new WFD Board was appointed at the recent WFD Congress, which took place in Turkey in July 2015; a major event that happens every four years. The UK representative on the WFD Board is BDA Chair Dr Terry Riley OBE.

For more information about the World Federation of the Deaf, please visit

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