I had a lifetime experience

I had the best time of my life in The Hague during the ETSN Youth Summit organised as part of the 18th ECHA Conference. I had been preparing for this conference practically all summer, and I can say that the experience far exceeded all my expectations for sure!


Jonathán Adorjáni and the team


I gained much knowledge about talents and abilities during the talks and presentations. The first keynote speech already contained plenty of new information; this was also the presentation that intrigued me the most out of the 15+ lectures/presentations/workshops/inspirational talks I attended during the conference. The speaker, Matt Zakreski, PhD, talked about the importance of failure. I can confidently claim that no lecture has ever captured my attention as much as this one. As a perfectionist fearing failure, I could completely identify with everything presented in the lecture; I felt as if every sentence would have been addressed personally to me. Perhaps the thought that stuck with me the most from this presentation was that “There are only three ways to Truly Fail: Never trying, Giving up and Not improving”.

Even this very first keynote speech touched on one of the most important topics of the conference: personal growth; and thanks to an inspirational talk I attended, I could make sure that one of the best ways to promote personal development within schools might be through creating a critical and research-oriented mindset in these institutions. The speakers were employees of a Dutch organisation called “POINT”, whose main aim is to bridge the gap between science and practice. For instance, they presented how teachers could become better professionals by conducting school research that ultimately stimulates the personal development of talented children. This presentation confirmed my hunch that, unfortunately, in general, too little emphasis is placed on research and personal growth in education.

In addition to discussing already somewhat familiar topics, I could also dive into the unknown thanks to the conference. The keynote speeches by Professors Alexander Minnaert PhD and Susan Baum PhD dealt with an area of ​​gifted education I had never heard of: the educational needs of “2e” – “twice exceptional” – children. While Prof. Alexander Minnaert, PhD explained in detail that “twice exceptional” refers to children who are exceptionally gifted while also having some form of disability (for example, ADHD, OCD or autism), Prof. Susan Baum, PhD talked about her own experiences with 2e children as a person who has been working with them for decades. Thanks to these lectures, I understood how important it would be to diagnose children struggling with certain neurodevelopmental disorders early and how crucial it is to provide them with appropriate education. Dealing with 2e folks is the part of education/talent support I would like to research further in the future, as proper and high-quality education is the right of all of us; however, twice-exceptional children, unfortunately, might not experience all the care they would desperately need.



At the same time, I was not only able to attend formal lectures but there were also many joint programs with the other Youth Summit participants; all of these presentations/talks/workshops had a relaxed atmosphere. Moreover, I could find common ground quickly with all of the Youth Summit participants, as we were united by our interests in learning, giftedness and personal growth. Together we could discuss the various educational/talent support systems available in our countries, we could participate in a relaxed conversation with Frank Worrell, PhD, the President of the American Psychological Association, and we were able to discover The Hague by a walking tour and a boat tour as well. Thanks to these activities, we became really good friends by the end of the conference. We even spent our last evening in The Hague together at the beach.

Overall, although I went to the ECHA Conference with great excitement, it far exceeded all my expectations, especially in terms of quality. I participated in such excellent lectures/presentations/workshops that redefined the meaning of “great speech/activity” for me. I was also pleasantly surprised by the immediacy and friendliness of the speakers. I wish every conference would be as meaningful, instructive, direct and interactive as this one!


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