Thematic Areas

Plenary Speakers

Call for Papers



Organizing Committee

Scientific Committee

Correspondence Address

invitation letter




Dear Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the organizers of the International Symposium, 'Sign Language and Deaf Culture', I have great pleasure in inviting you to participate in this Symposium to be held in Zagreb, Croatia, 3rd - 5th May, 2001.

The overall aim of the Symposium is the promotion of Deaf culture and sign language. We hope to achieve this by presenting a genuine opportunity for discussion, debate and the sharing of experiences and explorations of how to realise the human rights of the Deaf community. In exploring the 'true' needs of Deaf people this Symposium will be part of the overall purpose of working for the acceptance in society of Deaf people as a valued minority cultural group.

Unfortunately, at present, the pathological view of deafness is still dominant. Prejudice and ignorance are everyday realities for the majority of Deaf people. Sign language is still considered by many to be a primitive mode of communication.
Today, in Croatia for example, Deaf people still cannot choose between methods of education, levels of education, (if they do not have 'oral' skills) communication systems, support services, access to skilled interpreters, comprehensible TV programs, technical devices etc.

The situation for Deafblind people is often even worse. Levels of ignorance amongst professional service providers, and the attitudes of society in general are woefully inadequate if the human rights of, and services for Deafblind people are to be fully recognised and provided. The rights and provision of appropriate support to this group are in urgent need of attention and development.

We feel that it is very important to address these issues within the Symposium - to 'awaken' the hearing community, as well as Deaf people themselves, to the human, educational and cultural rights that should be ascribed to all Deaf and Deafblind people.
An objective of the Symposium is that this 'awakening' should embrace political, ethical, professional issues; and also start to explore 'practical' ways of moving forward, particularly within and with the Deaf community in Croatia.
An important aspect of this is to explore the barriers to the overall respect of human differences, particularly from the perspective of why the 'majority' hearing population both generally, and in terms of 'professional services' and attitudes often create and erect the barriers that deny the rights of Deaf people.

The programme for the Symposium will include presentations of the latest scientific research, professional practice and individual's experiences, through plenary lectures presented by international experts in their fields; theme papers; roundtable discussions; workshops, and poster presentations.

The different themes will encourage discussion and analysis in the areas of :

  • Deaf Culture

  • History and Human Rights

  • Sign Language Linguistics

  • Education

  • Mental Health

  • Counseling

  • Psychotherapy

  • Interpreting Services

  • Sign Language Courses

  • Deafblind Experiences/Perspectives

Please note that the Symposium will be conducted to facilitate the maximum involvement, understanding and contributions of all participants - Deaf, Deafblind and hearing.

We hope that you will be able to join us at this International Symposium - Sign Language and Deaf Culture and share with us this opportunity to begin to 'make a difference'.

Finally in addition to the formal aspects of the Symposium, we also hope that you will enjoy the opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful city of Zagreb, and the warm hospitality that we extend to you.

See you in Zagreb in May 2001!

Vesna Ivasovic
Chair, Symposium Scientific Committee

Important - Deadlines

October 1, 2000 - preregistration

March 31st, 2000 - papers  submission

March 31st, 2001 - registration





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