Sign Language & Deaf Culture


Thematic Areas

Plenary Speakers

Call for Papers



Organizing Committee

Scientific Committee

Correspondence Address

welcoming letter



Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

Sign language has been officially recognized as a minority language in about twenty world countries. The European Parliament Resolution on sign languages, UN Declaration and UNESCO report on deaf education emphasize the importance and value of sign language as well as the need for teaching deaf children by using sign language.

Maybe it is unusual in the world for a Deafblind Association to be the initiator of a symposium on sign language and deaf culture. However, this isn't unusual if we know that the deafblind community shares many similarities with the deaf community with respect to communication. Communication is precisely what caused many problems for the deafblind, since in Croatia there were no educated interpreters nor verified programs for quality training of interpreters for the deaf and deafblind

That is why the Croatian Association of the Deafblind "Touch", aiming to improve the quality of life of the deafblind in Croatia, with the help of experts from other countries, worked out a program for a sign language course , and began continually holding experimental courses for interpreters and translators lasting two years . The experimental stage started in autumn 1998 and is still going on. We now already have a third generation of interpreters who are still being trained. We received two awards in this field: The Award of the City of Zagreb and the Award for pioneer work in the field of deafblindness.

With this symposium we intended, first of all, to raise deaf people's awareness , as well as the awareness of a broader community in Croatia, of the value of sign language, the value of deaf culture and of the need for interpreters. The symposium participants are from different countries and will be sharing their experiences as we strive to enrich our understanding.

Since the Department of Hearing Impairments of the Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation of the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus have also played a certain role in establishing sign language in the community, at our initiative we decided to organize the symposium together, with different topics related to sign language and deaf culture, and with a minor reference to the problems of the deafblind.

We hope that this symposium will significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life for deaf and deafblind persons in Croatia, and that the experiences which you will carry back home with you after the symposium will contribute to the betterment of deaf and deafblind persons in your countries.

We warmly welcome you and we wish you a pleasant stay in Zagreb!

Sanja Tarczay
President of the Organizing Committee
President of the Croatian Association of the Deafblind "Touch"


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