ECHA – a Europe-wide Network for Talent Support

Prof Peter Csermely, a biochemist and network researcher at Semmelweis University, Hungary has been a keen supporter of gifted and talented education in his home country and Europe. The success of the Hungarian Reasearch Student Movement and the Network of Youth Excellence in Europe earned him the distinguished Descartes Prize of the European Union. His latest initiative, the European Talent Centre, has just started operation in summer, 2012.

As the new president of ECHA Prof Csermely will be committed to the development and strengthening of ECHA networks. „As a network researcher, I have ample evidence that all complex systems, from the human body or brain through societies to large organisations get stronger and function more reliably when their members (cells, people or institutions) are interconnected in many ways. This is even more so when we face difficulties like stress or shortages of resources. I would like ECHA to become a strong, very well interconnected and at the same time open and flexible network of gifted education specialists.” – says P. Csermely.

The 13th ECHA conference titled „Creativity across the lifespan” concentrated on aspects of gifted education from the nurseries to late adulthood, incorporating the topic of active aging. The conference attracted over 250 participants from all over Europe and overseas. Speakers of the conference included, among others, N. Colangelo, D. Feldman, J. Freeman, Ch. Fischer, T. Kirsi, J. Renzulli, J. Piirto, R. Subotnik, M. Sutherland and A. Ziegler. On the occasion of the 13th ECHA conference Prof F-J. Mönks, the initiator of gifted research in Europe and the founding professor of the gifted education department at Nijmegen University in the Netherlands was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award by MENSA International, the worldwide association of people with exceptionally high IQ.

The European Talent Centre – Budapest was introduced to the ECHA community by Ms Csilla Fuszek, the director of the institution. According to Prof Péter Csermely, newly elected president of ECHA, the Budapest Centre will play a supportive role in ECHA’s network-building efforts by creating a Talent Map of European talent support institutions and best practices. The idea of sharing experiences and networking was welcomed by numerous members of ECHA at the Münster conference.

Talent is a special kind of natural resource that is available in every country.