Nearly 600 registered participants from 16 countries around the world attended the eleventh edition of the World Congress on Conductive Education. Budapest hosted the event for the sixth time as part of Semmelweis International 40 and the Hungarian Science Festival program series, the focus was on international conductor training and conductive education practice. During the two-day conference, eight plenary and forty-four sectional presentations were given, accompanied by poster and film sessions.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector and President of the Congress, recalled that Semmelweis University, the leading medical university in Hungary and the region, and the András Pető Faculty, the cradle of the world-renowned “Hungaricum” Pető method, have become inseparable. He stressed that the faculty is playing its part in the internationalization of the university, the number of foreign students is growing dynamically, its staff are carrying out important missionary tasks in Hungarian regions beyond the borders, and its conductors are serving the needy in many parts of the world.

It is an important social question how to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in this lifelong condition, and how to ensure that they are as self-sufficient as possible. “Conductors trained at Semmelweis University dedicate their lives to helping those in need, and have become global ambassadors of conductor training in their home countries and the world at large, and being a member of the András Pető Faculty is a special honour – perhaps greater today than ever before,” added the rector.

Dr. Éva Feketéné Szabó, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Development and President of the International Pető Society called the greatest challenge for the Society and the Faculty is to nurture and further develop the educational system bequeathed by András Pető and Mária Hári in order to help our fellow human beings in need and to set an example for society in the future. She emphasized that, although the conference aims to present the international history of conductor training, the event is more than a retrospective, because these events and exchanges of experience can also ensure the future of a profession and an educational system.

The plenary presentations were started by Dr. Miklósné Tenk, Dr. Andrea Zsebe, Dean of the András Pető Faculty, who presented the faculty’s international training strategies, trends and objectives, emphasizing that the changing socio-cultural and economic environment requires new approaches, in which international training synergies should be used to create more and more cooperation in the field of academic and practical training.

In addition to the heads and senior lecturers of the faculty, the plenary session also featured presentations by representatives of foreign organizations. Dr. Gabriella Papp, Dean of the Faculty of Special Education at ELTE Gusztáv Bárczi, concluded the series of presentations by presenting the cooperation between the two faculties in the Special Education Subcommittee of the Pedagogical Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.



At the congress, the Honorary Conductors who were not able to receive their diplomas at the previous World Congress in 2020 due to the pandemic situation were welcomed. The Honorary Conductor Award is a tribute to those who have stood up for the cause of conductive education through their activities and professionalism. Since 1990, 67 outstanding individuals from around the world have been nominated and elected as Honorary Conductors.

The new Honorary Conductors, present in person or through their delegates, were welcomed by Dr. Éva Feketéné Szabó on behalf of the International Pető Society and Dr. Miklósné Tenk, Dr. Andrea Zsebe on behalf of the faculty. In his welcome speech, the Dean of the Faculty emphasized that the continuous expansion of conductive education worldwide is not only the merit of the graduated conductors, but also of all those who are committed supporters of conductive education in their own field.

The event continued with four sessions where local history and current practices of conductive education from many countries around the world were presented. The session presentations included representatives of the co-disciplines, teachers, and students of the faculty.

As is tradition, the results of the VII International Drawing and Painting Competition were announced during the conference. A total of 139 works were submitted, of which 42 were awarded prizes: 38 individual and 4 special prizes from Hungary and across its borders, from Germany, and from the United States.

In her closing speech, Dr. Éva Feketéné pointed out that the training of conductors at the András Pető Faculty has reached a new level with the launch of the third specialization, as the specialization in pedagogical rehabilitation prepares future conductors for the provision of organized conductive education in non-educational institutions and for working in a health rehabilitation environment. In addition to ensuring the functioning and development of the faculty, the integration with Semmelweis University also guarantees the professional and research potential that is embodied in the already six-faculty cooperation and represents a unique opportunity for the academic understanding and recognition of conductive education.

“True to our founder, we must remain open to new opportunities in our fast-changing world, but we have no difficulty because the mission is eternal and the principles are stable,”

the vice-rector concluded the event.

The two-day event, the second day of which was the Faculty’s Scientific Student Conference, also featured presentations by students researching in their workshops, as well as a discussion on the theory and practice of conductive education.

Zsófia Vona

Translation: Gábor Kiss
Photo: Bálint Barta – Semmelweis University