James Allen was born deaf to deaf parents, Alfred and Margaret
‘Margo’ Allen in Sydney. He attended North
Rocks Institute for Deaf Children, Sydney
from 1965 to 1977. In 1997, he graduated with a Diploma in Community
Organisations from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Colin Allen's contributions to the Deaf Community include working as a professional actor with the Australian Theatre of the Deaf from 1976 to 1982. He was also involved as President of NSW Gay and Lesbian Association of the Deaf from 1986 to 1989 and as President of the national Australian Gay and Lesbian Association of the Deaf from 1986 to 1990. He was President of the Australian Association of the Deaf (now Deaf Australia) from 1987 to 1994 and from 1996 to 1999. He also served as a Board member of the Deaf Society of NSW from 1987 to 1994 and from 1996 to 1999.
As a board member of the World Federation of the Deaf since 2003, he has worked with Deaf Communities in around the world. Between September 2000 and May 2007, he worked for the Finnish Association of the Deaf on Deaf-related projects in Albania, Cambodia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey. From 2007 to 2009, he also worked as an International Project Co-ordinator for the Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. He has completed regional survey work on Deaf people in Eastern Europe, Middle Asia, Asia and the Pacific, South America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Eastern and Southern Africa, Western and Central Africa and Arabian States.
In 2011, he was elected as the new President for the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). Since then, he has represented WFD at the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Panel of Experts under the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability. He also leads WFD’s collaboration with the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Programme and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. As part of his role with WFD, he was elected as the Second Vice Chair of the International Disability Alliance Board as of July 2013.
In his professional career, Colin worked as Director of Services and Community Engagement with the Deaf Society of NSW from October 2009 to June 2013, a position responsible for the delivery of services across Community Services, Adult Education, Employment and Advocacy & Community Development. He has been Senior Community Engagement Advisor with the Deaf Society since July 2013.
Personal information from Colin Allen