The World Federation of the Deafblind, WFDB

Description and aim

The World Federation of the Deafblind is a non-governmental and non-profit making worldwide organisation. It is an organisation of deafblind people and is the legitimate voice of deafblind people of the world. The work for deafblind people is incipient and it is only during the past fifteen to twenty years that deafblind have succeeded in nurturing a unique profile and enjoying an increased understanding of the specific problems resulting form deafblindness.

The aim of WFDB is to improve the quality of life of deafblind people world wide and one of the most important activities undertaken by WFDB is to identify deafblind people in order to break their isolation. WFDB also aims at spreading information about deafblindness and about the kind of service deafblind people need in order to live independent lives. In addition, WFDB strives to have deafblindness acknowledged internationally as a unique disability.

1st and founding General Assembly

The decision to form a world federation of deafblind was made at the 6th Helen Keller World Conference in Paipa, Colombia, September 13 - 19, 1997. After many years of work the conference delegates considered that time was ripe to take the step to found the World Federation of the Deafblind, WFDB. The conference appointed a committee that would prepare the first and founding general assembly of WFDB, which was to be held in connection with the 7th Helen Keller Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2001. An executive council was elected with Stig Ohlson (Sweden) as President; Daniel Alvarez-Reyes (Spain) as Vice-President; Lex Grandia (Denmark) as Secretary General and Jeffrey Bohrman (USA) as Treasurer. In addition, six regional representatives were elected to represent their respective regions.

WFDB 2nd General Assembly

WFDB 2nd General Assembly was held in Tampere, Finland, in June 2005. There were 36 voting members present from five of the six regions. A new Executive Council was elected with Lex Grandia (Denmark) as President, Sonnia Margarita Villacrés (Ecuador) as Vice-President, André van Deventer (South Africa) as Secretary General and Gunborg Lindström (Sweden) as Treasurer, Christer Nilsson (Sweden) took over as Treasurer March 2008. The six regional representatives are: Africa: David Shaba (Tanzania), Asia: Satoshi Fukushima (Japan), Europe: Sanja Tarczay (Croatia), Latin America: Beatriz Vallejo (Colombia); North America: Jeff Bohrman (USA), Pacific: Janette Scahill (New Zealand) until 18th July 2006, Irene McMinn (Australia) took over in December 2007.

WFDB 3rd General Assembly

WFDB 3rd General Assembly was held Munyonyo, Uganda in October 2009. There were 42 voting members present from five of six regions. The Executive Council was elected with, Lex Grandia (Denmark) as President until 19th April 2012, Sonnia Margarita (Ecuador) as Vice-President, acting President from 20th April 2012, Geir Jensen (Norway) as Secretary General, Christer Nilsson (Sweden) as Treasurer. The six regional representatives are: Africa: Ezekiel Kumwenda (Malawi), Asia: Satoshi Fukushima (Japan), Europe: Sanja Tarczay (Croatia), Latin America: Alejandra Carranza (Argentina), North-America: Jeffrey Bohrman (USA), Pacific: Irene McMinn (Australia). The 4th GA will be held in the Manila area, Philippines October/November 2013.


The General Assembly (quadrennial) is the supreme governing body of WFDB. The Executive Council is elected by the General Assembly on a four-year term. The Executive Council consists of four elected officers:
president, vice-president, secretary general and treasurer; and six regional representatives (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Pacific).

Application for membership

If your organization is interested in joining WFDB, or cooperating with us, please fill out the appropriate application for membership (national, associate or individual) and submit it to the below contact address. In case of difficulties in downloading the forms or questions about type of membership, please contact us at the address below (or fax, or e-mail) and state:

Contact Information

Secretary General’s Office
Geir Jensen
Sporveisgata 10
N-0354 Oslo

Ph: +47 22 93 33 50
Fax: +47 22 93 33 51
Mobile: +47 95 46 02 01