Dr. Yerker Andersson, Honorary President of World Federation of the Deaf, passed away on July 18th 2016, in Frederick, Maryland, United States. Dr. Andersson served two terms of WFD Vice President (1975-1983) and three terms of the WFD presidency (1983-1995), devoting himself to networking deaf associations around the globe to expand their participation to WFD, as well as to protecting human rights of the deaf persons through international organizations including the United Nations (UN). He is the first deaf person addressing in the UN General Assembly in 1992. We, Japanese Federation of the Deaf, send our deepest deference to his commitment and profound condolences to his loss.
We express our heartfelt condolences to the passing of Dr. Yerker Andersson, Honorary President of World Federation of the Deaf.
Since the launch of the WFD, Dr. Anderson has committed himself to establishing and securing human rights of the deaf people. He was an advocate of sign language as a foundation and identity of the deaf people, and a generous supporter and advisor to the deaf movements throughout the world. He encouragingly kept attending the WFD Asia-Pacific regional meeting every year until the newly launched organization was able to manage itself on the right track.
He also introduced LGBT Interest Group in the WFD World Congress, when the issue has not yet gained broad recognition and awareness. It was made possible by his attitude to embrace diversity.
In relation to the deaf movements in Japan, encouragement of Dr. Andersson enabled us to make international milestones, including the 11th WFD World Congress in Tokyo and the election of the first WFD board member from Asia region and Japan. He visited Japan many times and helped us to participate to international arena, by comprehending and accepting deaf movements and organizations in Japan.
Dr. Andersson laid a solid foundation of our international actions and movements by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf.
We are determined to continue our deaf movements, together with our peers in Japan and around the globe, by keeping Dr. Andersson’s lessons in mind- working with the most marginalized, to seek for independence and equality with deaf pride and confidence.
Japanese Federation of the Deaf
In Mourning of Dr. Yerker Andersson
My sincere condolence to the passing of Dr. Yerker Andersson. For the deaf people around the world, Dr. Andersson was a distinguished educator of deaf movement and its value, as well as one of my friends that I deeply respect. He paid particular attention to deaf movements in Japan for its democratic and progressive aspects, and encouraged us to host the first-ever WFD World Congress in Asia. He also supported me to run for the WFD board election, which enabled me to serve as one of the board member.
He empowered Japanese Federation of the Deaf, and myself, to be able to commit to international actions. Without him, we were not as we are today.
Next time I meet him in heaven, I am hoping I will be able to help him to catch up with the ongoing situation of the deaf movements and sign languages.
WFD Honorary Member
Advisor, Japanese Federation of the Deaf
I am overwhelmed by the untimely passing of Dr. Yerker Andersson. I am not able to forget his encouragement, when I met him for the first time, at the post-reception party of the WFD Asia-Pacific Reginal Meeting in Japan.
“You say you will first organize the discussions, then the action follows. No, you have to take action first in any case! Otherwise you cannot respond. Put into practice! Try first!”
He made me aware of my impassive attitude in the meeting- I was merely waiting for the participants to start discussion. From then on, I started to change my discussion management at the WFD Asia-Pacific Regional meeting, by raising suggestions and proposals myself.
To be honest, I am not still able to realize the fact that Dr. Andersson is not with us anymore. Yet I am determined to succeed his spirit, and I am proud of being able to work with him.
Dr. Andersson, I am very grateful to you and your encouragement to us. Please stay with us up in the heaven. May your soul rest in peace.
Board Member, Japanese Federation of the Deaf
Former Director, Regional Secretariat in Asia/Pacific
My heartfelt condolences to the loss of Dr. Yerker Andersson.
The foundation of the network and alliance of our peers in Asia is laid onto the devotion is Dr. Andersson, who selflessly helped us to consolidate our Asia-Pacific regional organization. We will continue our deaf movement for deaf people in Asia, keeping our deaf identity that Dr. Andersson taught us.
I send my deepest gratitude to Dr. Andersson, who now rests in peace, for he has leaded us to where we are today.
Regional Director, WFD Regional Secretariat for Asia
Board Member, Japanese Federation of the Deaf