8th UNESCO Youth Forum: Concert of Finnish Sign Language Rap Artist "Signmark"
One of the major events of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum is a live performance by the ground-breaking Finnish rap artist, Signmark, taking place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 29 October and open to all the public.
Signmark (a.k.a Marko Vuoriheimo) is the first deaf artist in the world to get a record deal with an international music label. Born deaf into a world where music is for the hearing, Signmark pursued his childhood dream, and in 2006, released the world's first sign language hip-hop DVD. Since 2010, Signmark has been the Finnish Foreign Minister's special representative for promoting the rights of people with disabilities.
Through his performances, Signmark has highlighted the rights of disabled people at the UN General Assembly in New York, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, amongst many others, and has performed in over 30 countries, winning the JCI Outstanding Young Person of the World prize in 2009.
His live shows are always bilingual, and his songs are performed with International Sign Language and spoken English.
With his music and positive approach, Signmark's mission is to change attitudes towards the deaf. Signmark feels that society should not treat the deaf as handicapped people, but as a linguistic minority with their own culture, community, history and heritage. In his view, appreciating diversity is exceedingly important in today's increasingly multicultural world.
His live performance at the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum is a symbol of hope for young people from minority groups all over the world, and promises to be both inspiring and unforgettable.