CHARTER OF THE WORLD FEDERATION OF THE DEAF-BLIND.
 

Draft, presented at the Helen Keller World Conference, 13-19 September 1997, in Paipa, Colombia, Latin America

PREAMBLE
We, the deaf-blind of the world, in order to have our rightful share of all benefits of our Nations, advance our social and economic welfare, secure the best educational opportunities, raise our morale and competence, hereby ordain and establish this Charter.

ARTICLE I: NAME
 SECTION 1:
This organization shall be called The World Federation of the Deaf-Blind.

 SECTION 2:
The initials WFDB, hereinafter, shall mean The World Federation of the Deaf-Blind.

 SECTION 3:
For the purposes, publications, and activities of this organization, the terms "Deaf-Blind" and "Deafblind" are understood to refer to the same thing and may be used interchangeably without prejudice. The preferred spelling of this term shall be left to the discretion of member countries.
 

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
 SECTION 1:

This organization shall be a nonprofit, beneficial society of national organizations of deaf-blind persons, of deaf-blind individuals, and of other concerned individuals, organized for the purpose of advancing the economic, educational and social welfare of deaf-blind persons, and improving the morale among deaf- blind individuals throughout the world.

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
 SECTION 1:
Membership of the WFDB shall be of two types: National Organization and Individual. Individual memberships shall be of three types: Deaf-Blind, Associate and Honorary.

 SECTION 2:
 (A) National Organizations of deaf-blind persons shall comprise the primary membership of the WFDB.
 (B) Each country of the world may be represented by only one national organization. Should more than one organization from any single country seek this representation, the WFDB's Executive Council shall seek a satisfactory resolution of the issue. The WFDB's General Assembly shall be the final arbiter in such disputes.
 (C) The membership of any National Organization may be terminated, for just cause, by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly.

 SECTION 3:
 (A) Any person working to further the goals and purposes of the WFDB is eligible for Individual membership.
 (B) Deaf-Blind members shall be deaf-blind persons who support the principles and purposes of the WFDB. Deaf-Blind members shall pay appropriate dues.
 (C) Associate members are all other persons who pay appropriate dues and adhere to the purpose and principles of the WFDB.
 (D) Honorary memberships shall be conferred upon persons who have done outstanding work in the field of deaf-blindness. Honorary members shall not be required to pay dues. Honorary memberships shall be conferred at a meeting of the General Assembly of the WFDB.
 (E) Privileges of Individual membership are:  (a) All individual members in good standing shall be eligible to attend all conferences sponsored by the WFDB.
 (b) All regular meetings of the General Assembly of the WFDB shall be open to all individual members.
 (c) All Individual members of the WFDB shall receive THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND, the official publication of the organization.
 (d) All Individual members shall be entitled to receive services provided by the organization, subject to the conditions governing such services.
 (e) Associate and Honorary members shall be eligible to participate in all activities open to Deaf-Blind members, except for voting privileges.
 (f) Associate and Honorary members may vote in meetings of committees on which they serve.

 (F) The membership of any individual may be terminated, for just cause, by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Council.
 

ARTICLE IV; ELECTION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
SECTION 1:
 (A) The Executive Council of the WFDB shall consist of a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, six (6) Regional Representatives, and the Editor of THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND.
 (B) The President, the Vice-President, the Editor and the six (6) Regional Representatives must be deaf-blind individuals.
 (C) The Secretary and the Treasurer of the WFDB must have adequate skills appropriate to the office, but do not necessarily need to be deaf- blind individuals.
 (D) The six (6) Regional Representatives shall represent the following regions:  (a) Africa (Including island nations except those in the Indian Ocean)
 (b) Asia (Excluding island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans)
 (c) Europe (Including island nations)
 (d) North America (Including island nations)
 (e) Oceania (Including all island nations of the Pacific and Indian Oceans)
 (f) South America (Including island nations)
 

SECTION 2:
 (A) Candidates for election to the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer may be nominated by any National Organization member of the General Assembly, or by vote of the Executive Council.
 (B) Candidates for the six (6) positions of Regional Representative members of the Executive Council may be nominated by vote of the National Organization members of the General Assembly for the region of representation, or by vote of the Executive Council.
 (C) Appointment to the Executive Council shall be by vote of the National Organization members of the General Assembly, with the candidate receiving the most votes for a given position being elected to that position. Each National Organization members of the General Assembly may cast one vote for each Executive Council position to be filled.
 (D) The Editor of THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND shall be appointed by vote of the Executive Council of the WFDB.
 (E) Newly elected members of the Executive Council shall be installed immediately after the announcement of the election results.
 (F) Election to positions on the Executive Council shall be for a period of four (4) years, or until an election can be held at a General Assembly meeting after the fourth year.
 (G) When vacancies occur on the Executive Council, as with the death or resignation of an Executive Council member, the position may be filled for the rest of the term by vote of the Executive Council.
 (H) Results of the election shall be published in THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF- BLIND.
 (I) Any member of the Executive Council may be removed from such position, for just cause, by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Council, or a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.

ARTICLE V: ADOPTION
SECTION 1:
 (A) This Charter shall be adopted by majority vote of the deaf-blind delegates to the Sixth Helen Keller World Conference, held in Paipa, Colombia, September, 1997.
 (B) Adoption shall be by majority vote of deaf- blind delegates to this International Conference.

SECTION 2:
 (A) Initial appointments to the Executive Council may be made at this International Conference.
 (B) Procedures for making initial appointments to the Executive Council may be established by majority vote of the deaf-blind participants at this International Conference.
 (C) Deaf-blind delegates to this International Conference may establish their National Organization as a Charter Member of the WFDB by majority vote of the deaf-blind delegates attending from that country. Such Charter Membership in the WFDB shall require written confirmation of ratification by the National Organization, sent to the WFDB's Secretary within six (6) months of the completion of this International Conference.

ARTICLE VI: DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
SECTION 1:
 (A) The President shall preside at all meetings of the WFDB.
 (B) The President shall see that the policies of the WFDB and the decisions of the Executive Council and General Assembly are carried out.
 (C) The President shall represent the organization, or delegate such authority, when and wherever it is to be represented.
 (D) The President shall sign all legal papers, with approval of the Executive Council.
 (E) The President shall appoint Committee members.
 (F) The President shall be a member of the Executive Council, but shall not have voting privileges at Executive Council meetings, except to cast deciding votes in the event of a tie vote.
 (G) The President shall be a de facto member of all committees to ensure communication with the Executive Committee.
 (H) The President shall prepare the agendas for Executive Council and General Assembly meetings.

SECTION 2:
 (A) The Vice-President shall serve in the absence of the President.
 (B) The Vice-President shall succeed the President for the remainder of the President's term if that office becomes vacant.
 (C) The Vice-President shall assist the President.
 (D) The Vice-President shall be a member of the Executive Council and have voting privileges at Executive Council meetings, except when acting during the absence of the President.

SECTION 3:
 (A) The Secretary shall record and keep all minutes of meetings of the organization and meetings of the Executive Council.
 (B) The Secretary shall handle promptly all correspondence and other materials pertinent to that office.
 (C) The Secretary shall keep a copy of this Charter and the rules and regulations made by the General Assembly and the Executive Council.
 (D) The Secretary shall be custodian of all organization papers.
 (E) The Secretary shall keep rolls of membership.
 (F) The Secretary shall be a member of the Executive Council and have voting privileges at Executive Council meetings.

SECTION 4:
 (A) The Treasurer shall prepare the annual financial statement for the WFDB.
 (B) The Treasurer shall collect all outstanding accounts and dues.
 (C) The Treasurer shall report all bills and make payment following authorization by the President or the Executive Council.
 (D) The Treasurer shall receive dues and send out membership receipts.
 (E) The Treasurer shall keep an accurate account of monies received and spent by the organization.
 (F) The Treasurer shall see that all monies received are deposited in a bank approved by the Executive Council.
 (G) Checks shall be signed by two of the following three officers: President, Secretary or Treasurer.
 (H) The Treasurer shall report the names and addresses of dues-paying members to the Secretary.
 (I) The Treasurer shall be a member of the Executive Council and have voting privileges at Executive Council meetings.

SECTION 5:
 (A) Each of the six (6) Regional Representatives shall represent the interests of the countries of the region of representation.
 (B) Each Regional Representative shall report to the Executive Council on activities within the region of representation.
 (C) Each Regional Representative shall be a member of the Executive Council and have voting privileges.

SECTION 6:
 (A) The Editor shall prepare THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND for publication.
 (B) The Editor shall receive all material submitted for publication in THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND and shall make editorial decisions concerning material submitted for publication. Materials originating from the Executive Council will be published when approved for such publication by the President.
 (C) The Editor shall be a member of the Executive Council and have voting privileges at Executive Council meetings.

ARTICLE VII: EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
SECTION 1:
 (A) The Chairperson of the Executive Council shall be the President of the WFDB.
 (B) The Executive Council shall be composed of eleven (11) members, at least nine (9) of whom must be deaf-blind persons.
 (C) All members of the Executive Council will be elected for a term of four years, but shall remain as members of the Executive Council until a General Assembly meeting can be held after the fourth year of such appointment.

SECTION 2:
The duties of the Executive Council shall be as follows:
 (A) The Executive Council shall develop and implement the programs of the WFDB, and implement policies established by the General Assembly.
 (B) The Executive Council shall approve the drafting of all contracts, legal papers and documents that are binding on the WFDB.
 (C) The Executive Council shall provide, and submit to the General Assembly for its approval, ways and means of financing the WFDB.
 (D) The Executive Council shall determine the amount of dues.
 (E) The Executive Council shall call special meetings.
 (F) The Executive Council shall designate the bank wherein money shall be deposited.
 (G) The Executive Council shall make rules and regulations needed to carry out the purpose of the organization.
 (H) The Executive Council shall accept and approve Committee reports.

ARTICLE VIII: GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SECTION 1:
 (A) The General Assembly of the WFDB shall consist of National Organization members of the WFDB. Each country of the world may be represented by one national organization. Each National Organization member of the WFDB shall appoint a Delegate to represent that country at General Assembly meetings of the WFDB.
 (B) When a country does not have a National Organization of deaf-blind people, or such organization is not a member of the WFDB, the individual members of the WFDB who are deaf-blind individuals and citizens of that country may vote to select a Delegate to represent their interests at General Assembly meetings. Such Delegate shall have the same rights and privileges within the General Assembly as if representing a National Organization of that country.

SECTION 2:
The duties of the General Assembly of the WFDB shall be as follows:
 (A) The General Assembly shall develop the general policies of the WFDB.
 (B) The General Assembly shall elect members of the Executive Council.
 (C) The General Assembly shall be the international voice representing the interests of deaf-blind people throughout the world.
 (D) The General Assembly of the WFDB shall provide guidance and direction for the Executive Council of the WFDB.

ARTICLE IX: MEETINGS
SECTION 1:
An annual meeting of the Executive Council shall be held, if possible, and announced by the President, stating date and location, upon approval of a majority of the Executive Council. All members of the Executive Council shall be notified in advance of any meeting.

SECTION 2:
The President, or a majority of the Executive Council, may call a special meeting of the Executive Council, when necessary. The membership shall be notified of the results of these meetings.

SECTION 3:
A meeting of the General Assembly shall be held every four years, if possible, and announced by the President, stating date and location, upon approval of a majority of the Executive Council. All members of the WFDB shall be notified in advance of any meeting of the General Assembly.

SECTION 4:
The President, or a majority of the National Organization Members of the General Assembly, may call a special meeting of the General Assembly, when necessary. The membership shall be notified of in advance of this meeting, and shall be notified of the results of such meetings.

ARTICLE X: QUORUM
SECTION 1:
A quorum of the Executive Council shall consist of six (6) members of the Executive Council, at least five of whom must be deaf-blind.

SECTION 2:
A quorum for Meetings of the General Assembly of the WFDB shall consist of delegates representing at least 50.1% of the number of current National Organization members.

ARTICLE XI: DISSOLUTION
SECTION 1:
No Officer or member of this organization shall have any real or personal property rights in this organization, nor will they have any personal responsibility for the debts of the WFDB in the event of its termination.

SECTION 2:
Upon the failure to have Executive Council meetings for five (5) successive years, or of the General Assembly for ten (10) successive years the current Executive Council shall settle the outstanding accounts and obligations of the WFDB and donate any remaining monies or property on in equal amounts to the World Blind Union and the World Federation of the Deaf.

ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENTS
SECTION 1:
This Charter may be amended at General Assembly meetings by a two-thirds vote of the National Organization members of the General Assembly. Amendments or changes to this Charter may be recommended by any member. Proposed amendments must be submitted in writing to the Secretary, and must be approved in final form by a two- thirds vote of the Executive Council before being submitted to the General Assembly for ratification. All National Organization members of the General Assembly must be notified, in writing, at least ninety (90) days before the start of the General Assembly meeting at which voting is to take place. National Organization members unable to send a delegate to the General Assembly meeting may send their vote, in writing, to the Secretary at least thirty (30) days prior to the start of the General assembly meeting, and such votes shall be counted along with those cast at the meeting.

SECTION 2:
Amendments to this Charter shall be published in THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF- BLIND.

ARTICLE XIII: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
SECTION 1:
This Charter shall represent the primary authority within the WFDB, and shall serve as the basis for settling all disputes.

SECTION 2:
Policies established by vote of the General Assembly of the WFDB, and procedures or rules established by vote of the Executive Council, shall serve as the primary basis for settling all questions not accounted for in this Charter.

SECTION 3:
"ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER," current revised edition, shall be the basis for settling all questions not accounted for in this Charter or through formal policies, procedures or rules established by the General Assembly or Executive Council of the WFDB.

ARTICLE XIV: PUBLICATION
SECTION 1:
There shall be a publication of the WFDB. It shall be called THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND. It shall contain material pertinent to the lives of deaf-blind persons everywhere. The Editor shall be appointed by the President, with the approval of the Executive Council.

SECTION 2:
 (A) THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THE DEAF-BLIND will be a vehicle for presenting the purpose of the WFDB, presenting reports, making announce- ments, providing news of technological advances and providing items of interest about deaf- blind persons.
 (B) It will not represent any political party or ideology.


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