The congress will be organised for the Internationale Stuttering Asscociation ISA by the Dutch Stuttering Association Demosthenes.
A special organisation called "Stichting Wereldstottercongres" is formed to handle all things concerning the congress.
In this, we have the following three board-members.
Maartje was born and raised in the south of the Netherlands, in a family where stuttering wasn’t uncommon. With a father and a brother who were dealing with the same issues, Maartje grew up in a home where stuttering was a well discussed problem.
After years of therapy, she decided at the age of 21 that enough was enough. All through high school, stuttering was an obvious problem, but when she started her college education, it became a paralyzing speech disorder.
She took matters into her own hands and she found a therapy that actually helped her move on from all the negative thoughts. Around that time, she came in contact with the Dutch Stuttering Association Demosthenes. She started a youth department for young adults between 18 and 30, a group that needs a lot of attention. From 2003 till 2009, she organised a lot of events and weekends for these young people. In 2003, she also took part in an ELSA meeting, where young people learn to get a voice for people who stutter in Europe.
In the meantime, she finished college with a dentist degree in 2007 and since then she is a fulltime dentist. Besides this busy and demanding job, she took place in the board of the National Stuttering Association Demosthenes in 2008.
At first, the youth department and the organisation of activities were the biggest part of her tasks, but since 2010, she also has the position of Public Relations-board member. She has had more than enough training concerning media and PR, for she has been in two short films about stuttering, countless interviews for newspapers and magazines and a few radio broadcasts. All this was meant to make the Netherlands more aware of stuttering.
After participating in the ISA World congress for PWS in Croatia in 2007, Maartje only wanted to do more for the community of PWS worldwide. The year 2010 was partially used for preparations for the World congress for PWS in 2013, which will be held in the Netherlands. She is chair of this event.
Richard could be called a therapy-collector in the past. He tried a lot of therapies and alternative solutions to get rid of his stuttering. From several normal therapies with SLPs to alternatives in the Netherlands and he even went on therapy in Croatia. But besides therapy based on stuttering he also went to get acupuncture, homeopathic threatment and even visited a healing-mediator. The therapies, SLPs and alternatives all were partly effective, but none of them 'cured' the stuttering. About 10 years ago Richard decided therapy was not the way to reach his goals. The best way to cope with his stuttering was to go out and talk, and don't bother the stuttering to much.
In 2003 Richard participated on an ELSA Youth Meeting, where he met a lot of other young persons from all over Europe who had the same problem, they stuttered. The way the organisers and some participants coped with their stuttering during this week helped Richard in his process not be bothered as much as before.
Richard got involved with the Dutch stuttering Association in 1998. First as an editor of the magazine, followed by becoming the webmaster and board member 'international contacts'. Until today Richard is the webmaster of Demosthenes, maintaining all four websites including this one.
Since 2007 Richard also got more involved in ELSA, the European League of Stuttering Associations, as part of the team at youth meetings and webmaster. Since 2010 he's officially board member of ELSA next to Edwin J. Farr and Anita Blom.
From the moment Richard visited the congress in Cavtat (Croatia), he had the feeling the congress should come to the Netherlands one day. Good thing was that more of his friends had the same idea and from that moment on plans were made. The most important part for him on congresses like this is the ability to share thoughts and opinions with people from all over the world with the same problem. Scientific lectures are very important to Richard, as long as the lectures are understandable for people without scientific background and who's first language is not English.
Patrick Wetzels, born and raised in the southeast of the Netherlands, has stuttered since he was a small boy.