Dr. Liisa Kauppinen

Dr. Liisa Kauppinen is a truly extraordinary, international deaf leader as well as an ambassador for the global community of the Deaf. She is internationally recognized for her global contribution in advocating for the human rights of deaf people around the world.

She has received the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Award Prize from the United Nations on December 10, 2013 in New York, USA. The United Nations Prize in the field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organisations for outstanding achievement in human rights every five years.

She was also awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor in Laws LL.D) from Trinity College Dublin in June 2013 in addition to the other two honarary doctorates.

Dr. Kauppinen served the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) for over 30 years. Liisa was also an executive director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf for 30 years (1976-1987 and 1991-2006).

She served as WFD Vice President in 1983 and then WFD General Secretary in 1987. She relocated the WFD Secretariat to Helsinki, Finland, her home country, in 1987. She was also involved with the European Union of the Deaf from 1985, which worked with the European Parliament to secure an historic resolution on the status of signed languages in 1988.

She was elected the first female president of the WFD and served as WFD President from 1995 to 2003. Although retired, she continues to serve as an expert for the WFD General Secretariat in Finland.

During her WFD presidency, she involved the WFD in various meetings at the United Nations. She was passionately involved in advocating for recognition of sign languages in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She served as the permanent WFD representative to the United Nations for 20 years.

She is WFD Emeritus President since 2003 and WFD Honorary President since 2011.


World Federation of the Deaf. Press release, December 3, 2013. http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/news_former-wfd-president-liisa-kauppinen-receives-2013-united-nations-human-rights-award-prize

World Federation of the Deaf. www.wfdeaf.org

You may also be interested in United Nations's declaration of human rights on sign language.

A former president of the World Federation of the Deaf.