They work for European talents in Budapest

The desire to establish a Budapest-based European Talent Centre arose at the International Talent Support Conference in 2011, organised as part of the Hungarian EU Presidency programme. In the final declaration of the Conference, hosting also the First European Talent Day, the participants proposed "to create a European Talent Centre - Budapest to foster, co-ordinate and monitor the joint European talent support activity". In this interview, Csilla Fuszek, Director of the European Talent Centre - Budapest speaks about the plans for the first six months of the organisation formed now under the aegis of the Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organisations.

Why was the establishment of a European Talent Centre – Budapest initiated by Hungary of all countries?

 Hungarian talent support, especially the achievements of the past few years, is of outstanding significance in European comparison. The long-term, 20-year, Hungarian talent-nurturing strategy, its systematic approach and in particular the so-called talent point network model, has been accompanied by considerable European attention ever since its conception.
Hungarian talent support professionals had joined the common European workshop activities focusing on the practice of talent support even before Hungary's accession to the Union. This relationship intensified later on and Hungary acquired something of a lead role. Joint work has resulted in talent support conferences of decisive professional importance organised in Hungary; in the collection of foreign best practices and the dissemination of Hungarian ones, under the Hungarian Genius programme, and the establishment of the 
European Talent Centre - Budapest by the Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organisations as a follow-up of our foreign relations work.

What is the ars poetica of the new institution?

The establishment of the Centre which commenced its operation in July 2012 was driven by the acceptance of the network-based dissemination of two essential ideas. The first is, to quote Csíkszentmihályi, the tenet that, "the development of talent is one of the most important goals in the conservation of human recourses...", and the second is, to quote the same author, that "it will make a great difference to our children and their children, whether they live in a society where talents are valued and developed to their utmost or in one where potentials are left stagnant and unfulfilled". These two ideas could be the motto of the European Talent Centre: the European talent network itself will actually be the output of the joint work of European professionals agreeing with these statements.
The activity and the plans of the Centre can be conceived of as a kind of goodwill towards Europe, since its main tasks include the establishment of the European talent network exemplified in practice by the Hungarian talent network model implemented already.  At the same time, the Centre will serve as the basis for the 
dissemination of the Hungarian co-operation model, referred to in many parts of the world as an example to be followed, both within and without Europe

What are the main tasks of the first six months?

The plans for the first half concern unspectacular construction works, so to say, since this period is the first phase of the longer-term activity of laying the bases of the European talent-support network. The expected key result is to set up a team of voluntary experts from all over Europe who wish to actively contribute to the development of the European talent network and help draw the European talent map.

Another part of the tasks concern the representation abroad of the Hungarian example and, in parallel, contact-keeping abroad. In the spirit of the foregoing, the staff members of the Centre will be present during the autumn time at several 
European conferences. Furthermore, several foreign delegations (Polish, Latvian and Chinese) interested in the operation of the Hungarian network and the Hungarian traditions of talent support and have announced their intention to visit us in the months to come.   

What conferences and publications are you planning?

Our English language website which is expected to go live in mid-September will display the internal talent-support-related best practices of large foreign companies present in Hungary. This is an unprecedented initiative in Europe, and familiarisation with the talent identification and talent development strategies of the corporate sector and ever more responsive to the challenges, will certainly be an interesting and enriching experience for the public education sector.

The functions of the Centre will include the 
further collection of international best practices and their publication in on-line and/or paper-based format.  Two volumes are scheduled to appear in the near future: an anthology of best practices in talent support in Europe and one of those in the Carpathian Basis. One of the first events of the Centre would combine the presentation of the volume on the Carpathian Basin with a one-day conference which would also serves as a meeting for the cross-border talent points existing already. Soon after, also this year, an enterprise roundtable will be organised where companies can present their best practices.

The European Talent Centre - Budapest is an organisational unit of the Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organisations (MATEHETSZ). It pursues its activity in close co-operation with the related programmes of MATEHETSZ, OFI (Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development) and EMMI (the Hungarian Ministry for Human Resources). The establishment of the European Talent Centre - Budapest is funded under application (NTP-EU-M-12) announced for the fulfilment of the tasks related to the operation of the European Talent Centre - Budapest under the National Talent Programme.

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