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European Congresses 'Living in the Encounter'
Congresses all over the world

Update 3 february 2021

Inclusive European Congress 'Moving borders'

15 - 18 june 2022
Zurich, Switzerland

Extra website

Website of Thomas Kraus with information about the congresses all over the world -- in English:


1. World Congress in Yekaterinburg, Russia
7 - 10 September 2017

'Making values visible'

Report, photos and video please see


Older information


Letter of invitation from September 23, 2016 (English – Download pdf 568 kB)

Brochure Worldcongress 2017 (English, edition of 23/9/16– Download pdf 4,9 MB)

The dedicated web site on the World Congress is run by the Russian organizing committee. There you will find all important information, where you can register for the Congress:

The site is available in three languages: English, German, Russian.

Note: registration is only possible using the online form. Therefore one must register first.

You can reach the Congress Project Office via email (English, German, Russian):

History see below.


The 3rd congress in Thailand 14 - 17 July 2016

"There is Love in my heart"
took place Khonkhaen University, Khonkhaen, Thailand.
More: see page 'congresses worldwide'


The 2nd congress in Portugal / Spain
6 - 8 June 2016

The second Spanish- Portuguese Congress has just ended at Casa St. Isabel / Portugal.
Almost 300 participants enjoyed 3 wonderful days.
See page 'congresses worldwide'


6. European Congress 'Living in the Encounter'
Brussels, Belgium, 6 - 9 May 2015

extra website with reports and photos:

in Netherlands. Please translate automatically with browser-function, e.g. with or


First World Congress 2017 in Yekaterinburg, Russia

The World Congress will take place in September 2017 in Yekaterinburg!
The Russian government has now agreed and a team for preparation is set up.

5.12.2014 official notification of the Sverdlovsk Oblast
(simple translation; original:
Social activists propose to hold the first World Congress of people with disabilities in Yekaterinburg

In Yekaterinburg, a public organizing committee for the 2017 First World Congress of people with disabilities is established. A relevant resolution was adopted by NGO organizations in a roundtable meeting, held at the Youth Palace.

In the new organizing committee are included the chief ideologue of such congresses at the international level, Thomas Kraus, a member of the organizing group for Congresses in the Nordic countries, Petter Holm, representatives of about 20 different social organizations and institutions of the Sverdlovsk region, including "White Cane" and "Blago delo", and the delegate from social activists from Moscow, Olga Kuryanova, which was one of the organizers of the first Russian Congress, held in 2010. The second Russian Congress "Nearly no whole. Find your gem!" was held in 2012 in Yekaterinburg. It was attended by 350 people from Russia, CIS and Europe.

Congresses of people with disabilities are organized on a voluntary basis without a legal entity. They have a similar structure: all reports, cultural events, workshops and tours are united by one theme. The Congresses enable persons with disabilities to active participation in society, supporting creative potential, expanding circle of friends, as well as to discuss the most pressing issues that interest them. The First European Congress was held in 1998 in Berlin, and in 2009 Thomas Kraus and his like-minded volunteers started spreading the practice of holding such congresses around the world. The Sixth European Congress will be held in Brussels in May 2015.

It should be noted that the initiative on the organization of the World Congress in Yekaterinburg was also discussed between the regional Minister of International and Foreign Economic Relations Andrey Sobolev, the head of the Regional Ministry of Social Policy Andrey Zlokazov and Thomas Kraus.

"The experience of European countries in creating an accessible environment is very inspiring for us. And it's not only about infrastructure, but all aspects of inclusion of people with disabilities. We believe that society should be intact. Therefore, the regional administration is planning more, and pays more attention to this area. We still have a lot to learn, "- said Andrei Sobolev.

The Minister for Social Politics, Andrei Zlokazov, told Thomas Kraus that in the Sverdlovsk region they pay serious attention to this special category of citizens by various projects, as the comprehensive program "Accessible Environment", events held to support the public organizations of disabled people, and the level of activity and quality changes from year to year. "And most importantly, the civil society’s involvement in the process to create a barrier-free environment in the region, by organizing such activities as "A special evening" and the Russian Special Olympics competition.”

Thomas Kraus shared with the participants of the meeting about his vision of how this major event should be prepared and organized, noting the positive experience of the Russian Congress in Yekaterinburg in 2012.

"I have been working in this area on a voluntary basis for more than 20 years. And what amazes me and makes me happy is that the regional authorities and public institutions are interested in this subject and are prepared to do a lot for the organization of such events", - said Thomas Kraus.

Following the meeting, the two heads of the ministries agreed to form and to submit proposals for the World Congress of people with disabilities to the Governor of Sverdlovsk region, Evgeny Kuyvashev, and to the federal authorities. The Deputy Head of the Mission of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) in the Ural Federal District, Alexander Vasilevsky, told in the meeting that support for this project could be possible.

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