Tüzes Dániel

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Péter Csermely

What are the strengths of ECHA? First of all: its continuously enriched traditions of more than 25 years. Secondly, ECHA’s superb quality in all areas related to research and practice associated with talented people. This high quality is exemplified by High Ability Studies, which is the most prestigious journal of the field. Last but not least ECHA’s strength comes from the large variety of approaches of its members reflecting the cultural richness of Europe.

What are the weaknesses of ECHA and European talent support in 2012? First of all, there is a gap between research and practice. In many places local talent support communities are isolated from the rest of Europe and often re-invent the wheel. Sometimes these local communities invent a square instead of a wheel – which is even worse. We need a much more intensive dissemination of the scientific results and exchange of the best talent support practices in Europe. The second weakness of ECHA and European talent support is the gap between research, practice and politics. Talented people are the future of Europe. Still, the Horizon 2020 takes talent as a granted treasure of the ‘old continent’, and contains no direct measures to discover and support the huge and hidden European pool of talented people. The third weakness of ECHA is the gap between ECHA Conferences. ECHA cannot be a ‘conference-society’ only. Our responsibility is much wider than that.

What are the major goals of ECHA for the coming years? First and foremost ECHA has to stand in the forefront of building a European Talent Support Network. This should be a network of all people involved in talent support: educators, researchers, psychologists, parents, politicians and the talented young people themselves. Talent Support Centres of many European countries may serve as regional hubs of this network building a contact structure going beyond their own country. Secondly, and consequently: ECHA needs to grow its membership and needs to maintain a continuous contact with its members. Third, ECHA needs to build up an intensive contact structure with other European actors involved in talent support: the European Parliament, the European Commission, other related Europe-wide NGO-organizations and multi-national firms willing to cooperate with us and support ECHA.

Talented people in all ages are the life-insurance of Europe in times of economic and social crisis. Europe needs novel solutions, which needs creativity and talented people. Each European citizen might potentially hide a special type of talent. We need to discover this huge reserve and help its development into a joint success of Europe.

Sunday, 04 May 2014 00:00

General Committee


Lianne HoogeveenLianne Hoogeveen
Programme Director
Radboud Centre Social Sciences
Toernooiveld 5 
6525 ED Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Albert ZieglerAlbert Ziegler
Friedrich Alexander Universitat, Nürnberg-Erlangen
Lehrstuhl Pädagogische Psychologie
Dutzendteichstraße 24, D-90478 Nürnberg, Germany


Secretary and Treasurer of ECHA

colmColm O'Reilly
Centre for Talented Youth
Dublin City University
Dublin 9
Phone: +353 (1) 700 5000/extn: 5633
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

General Committee Member

ulrike kempterUlrike Kempter
Vereins Stiftung Talente OÖ
ÖZBF Salzburg
Victor Müller OppligerVictor Müller-Oppliger
Pädagogische Hochschule der Nordwestschweiz
Swiss Centre for Gifted Education
Benzburweg 30
Liestal, Switzerland
+41 61 925 77 47
Mariska PoelmanMariska Poelman
Radboud University
Postbus 9104
The Netherlands
Anna Maria Roncoroni Anna Maria Roncoroni
Via Maragliano 6/1 sc. sn.
I-16121 Genova
Margaret Sutherland Margaret Sutherland
University of Glasgow
School of Education
St. Andrew's Building,
11 Eldon Street,
Glasgow G3 6NH

Invited (nonvoting) members of the General Committee

Editor-in-Chief of High Ability Studies

Alejandro VeasAlejandro Veas
Faculty of Education
University of Alicante
03690, San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante, Spain

Chairman of the ECHA Education Board

Christian Fischer Christian Fischer
International Centre for the Study of Giftedness ICBF
Universität Münster
Georgskommende 33,
48143 Münster, Germany

Chair of the next International ECHA Conference

Helena Serra Helena Serra
Escola Superior de Educação de Paula Frassinetti
Rua Gil Vicente, 138-142,
4000-255 Porto

Chair of the 2021 Thematic ECHA Conference

Fuszek Csilla Csilla Fuszek
Director of the European Talent Centre, Budapest
Postal address: 1518 Budapest 112 PO Box 146, Hungary
Office: MATEHETSZ, Mérnök u. 39. 1119 Budapest, Hungary

Representative of the 2022 International ECHA Conference

29994701 1512474008863919 168761451 o 1Desirée Houkema
National Talent Centre of the Netherlands,

Representative of the Youth Platform of the European Talent Support Network

29994701 1512474008863919 168761451 o 1Veronika Deketová
Czech Republic
Sunday, 04 May 2014 00:00

About ECHA

Throughout Europe there is a growing awareness of the needs of our most able individuals; in recent years increasing interest in this area of child development has generated new forms of practice in education, numerous research programmes and studies, a growth in the number of societies for parents of highly able children and, indeed, a growth in concern for highly able people of all ages.

ECHA has been generated by an overwhelming demand for coordination from most European countries, both West and East. The major goal of ECHA is to act as a communications network to promote the exchange of information among people interested in high ability – educators, researchers, psychologists, parents and the highly able themselves. As the ECHA network grows, provision for highly able people improves and these improvements are beneficial to all members of society.

The basis for this specifically European Council comes from a belief in our common cultural heritage which is distinct from that of other parts of the world. Although Europe is made up of different countries with many languages, we share the traditions and outlooks of societies in which education has been widely available for centuries. We also share the same kinds of problems, and it makes sense to work towards their solution together.

The European Council for High Ability aims to advance the study and development of potential excellence in people. This enterprise calls for easy access to communication so that new discoveries whether scientific or the fruits of experience, can be readily shared between members of ECHA and others who are concerned about high ability.
ECHA enjoys consultative status as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with the Council of Europe.

Charity Number: 40146782

Message from the President (2012-2016), Peter Csermely

ECHA celebrated its 25th birthday on 19th May 2013. As an introduction to this former ECHA presidents and secretaries summarize the first 25 years of ECHA traditions.

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Honorary Members

The European Council of High Ability honours its former presidents, former secretaries and Editor-in-Chiefs of its scientific journal, High Ability Studies with its Honorary Membership. We are pleased to share the Curriculum Vitae of our Honorary Members below.

Former presidents of ECHA

Kirsi Tirri (president, 2008-2012)

Kirsi-TirriDr. Kirsi Tirri is a Professor of Education and Research Director at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is also a visiting scholar with the Stanford Center on Adolescence, USA. Tirri has been the President of ECHA (European Council for High Ability) for the years 2008-2012 and the President of the SIG International Studies at AERA (American Educational Research Association) for the years 2010-2013. Her research interests include moral and religious education, gifted education, teacher education and cross-cultural studies. She has published 12 monographs and numerous journal articles related to these fields. She serves in 13 Editorial Boards of educational journals. She has supervised 16 doctoral dissertations in education and theology and mentored many postdoctoral students who are now professors and researchers in education. She has led the Finnish team in many national and international research projects.

You can read more of her work from Kirsi Tirri's own webpage or you can visit a webpage of Stanford Center on Adolescence.

Franz Mönks (president, 1992-2000; 2004-2008)

Franz-MonksIn 1962 Prof. Dr. Mönks became a staff member of the Department of Developmental Psychology at the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands), and in 1967 he became full professor of Developmental Psychology and head of the same department. In 1988 he was awarded a professorship on a newly established chair at the University of Nijmegen The Development of the Gifted Child, and he became also director of the newly founded Center for the Study of Giftedness (CSG) at the same University. He published and edited many books and numerous articles about developmental psychology and gifted education.

In 1987 Prof. Dr. Mönks became a member of the Executive Committee of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC), and was elected as Vice President of WCGTC in 1989. After his election as President of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) in October 1992, he retired as Vice President of WCGTC. He was the director of the Ninth World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children which was held in 1991 in The Hague (The Netherlands) and in the same year he organized in cooperation with the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France) an Educational Research Workshop on "Gifted Children and Adolescents - Research and Education in Europe", which was held at the University of Nijmegen (23-26 July 1991). He was the director of the 4th ECHA Conference which was held in October 1994 in Nijmegen. He is also consultant to other conferences like the 5th ECHA Conference in October 1996 in Vienna and the 4th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness in August 1996 in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 1992 at the third ECHA conference in Munich he was elected as President of ECHA and was re-elected at the sixth ECHA conference in Vienna (1996) for a second term. He was also the Chairman of the 8th ECHA conference which took place on Rhodes (Greece), October 9-13, 2002. In 2004 he was for the third time elected as President of ECHA.

Under his Presidency a teacher training program has been developed and established at the University of Nijmegen which leads to the qualification "Specialist in Gifted Education". This university diploma is known as ECHA-Diploma. During the closing session of the 4th ECHA Conference in Nijmegen (October 11th, 1994) five teachers received the ECHA-Diploma. Throughout Europe there are now more than 3000 teachers who received the ECHA-Diploma. He is one of the four editors (Heller, Mönks, and Sternberg Subotnik) of the second edition of the International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent. Oxford: Pergamon (2000). In the year 2001 this handbook got the award "Outstanding Academic Title" by the American Library Association, published in the independent review journal CHOICE.
More information and contact visit the webpage of Internationales Centrum für Begabungsforschung.

Javier Tourón (president, 2000-2004)

Javier-TouronHe received a PhD in Education and another in Biology. He is the Professor of Educational Research Methods at the Department of Education of the University of Navarra (Spain). He was the President of the European Council for High Ability (2000-2004), a member of the National Advisory Board of the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University (2003-2011) as well as the founder and director of the Center for Talented Youth CTY Spain, a Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth International Charter Member.

He has published over 130 research papers in Spanish and English journals. He is the author and co-author of several books, some of them dedicated to the issue of high ability and talent development and the evaluation of educational systems. Javier Taurón's CV is available at the webpage of Universidad de Navarra. You can access selected publications from the Digital Academic Repository of the University of Navarra and you can follow him through the social networks like Facebook or YouTube.

Joan Freeman (founding president, 1987-1992)

Joan-FreemanProfessor Joan Freeman, PhD, the Founding President of ECHA, is a world expert in the lifetime development of gifts and talents. She is an elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society and holds their Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the gifted and talented, among honours from elsewhere. Joan has written three UK government reports on the educating the gifted, as well as 17 books for scholars and parents and hundreds of academic and non-academic publications. She has given invited presentations in most parts of the world to scholars, practitioners and the public, has made many television programmes and is often in the media. Her private practice in London for gifted children is busy. Joan's latest book, Gifted Lives: What happens when gifted children grow up, describes the lives of gifted people in her unique intimate 35-year study-up.

More details can be found about Prof Joan Freman at her own webpage.

Secretaries of ECHA

Pieter Span (founding secretary of ECHA, 1987-1990)

Pieter-SpanDuring his studies political sciences, psychology and pedagogy at the University of Amsterdam, he already focused on learning processes of children. During and after his education at the university he worked at the famous 'psychological lab', founded by the Hungarian experimental psychologist Géza Révész. His personal interest at that time was the interaction between the personality of children and the teaching environmental instruction (Aptitude Treatment Interaction 'avant la lettre'). In 1965 he continued his professional career at the University of Utrecht, and became a full professor in 1972, after taking his doctors degree (on Field Independency in a teaching/learning situation). In 1983 Dick Snow (Stanford), Eric de Corte (Leuven), some others and he initiated EARLI: the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction. In the same year Franz Mönks invited him to meet with Joseph Renzulli. This started things to move. He managed to get financial support from the Dutch government for scientific research on identification and instruction of gifted students of secondary schools in the Netherlands.

1987 Joan Freeman, Harold Wagner and he founded ECHA. As we know now: very successfully. They even tried to carry out the message on the need of gifted education in African and Asian countries. In his lectures and workshops he emphasized the subject 'learning to learn' by gifted students. After his retirement from the university, he and two other colleagues started a private consultancy on giftedness in 1991 (PABU). They have worked with parents, schools and universities to accommodate gifted children. They implemented Renzulli's idea of Compacting Enrichment into a working model for Dutch schools. At 2013 his part in the PABU is limited. It is a great pleasure for him that the University of Utrecht is willing to incorporate the PABU in the near future. His efforts will be continued.

Harald Wagner (secretary and treasurer 1990 – 2004)

Harald-WagnerHarald Wagner was born in Ratzeburg, Germany in 1943. He studied Psychology at the University of Hamburg and received his Diploma in 1969 and his PhD in 1979. At the University of Hamburg he was engaged in several research projects and in teaching seminars on developmental psychology and methodology. He was Co-Organizer of the 6th World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children in 1985. From 1988 until 2009 he was Executive Director of "Bildung und Begabung e.V." in Bonn, an association organizing national competitions in mathematics and foreign languages and providing residential summer programmes for gifted high school pupils. 1992 to 2004 he was Secretary and Treasurer of ECHA; 1999 to 2009 he was Chairman of "Arbeitskreis Begabungsforschung und Begabungsförderung (ABB) e.V., a national association for professionals working in the field of giftedness; from 2007 to 2009 he was Chairman of "Arbeitsgemeinschaft rheinland-hochbegabt e.V.", a regional association promoting the support of gifted children in the Cologne area.

Johanna Raffan (secretary 2004-2012)

Johanna-RaffanJohanna M. Raffan MBE, HonLCP, FCoT, FRSA has had many years teaching experience and was a head teacher for 25 years in Nursery, Primary and Middle Schools. She was a founding member of the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE), is a Past President, was the Founding Director for ten years and is currently a Trustee. Her experience in the field of Able, Gifted and Talented education over forty years has led her to lecture around the world. She was the Education Adviser on Able Children to the Government of Madeira, has worked extensively in Denmark and for ten years was the Consultant for More Able and Talented to the Welsh Government. Johanna was an Executive member and Secretary for ECHA and is a UK delegate to WCGTC. She is a Fellow of The College of Teachers and is currently Vice President and Secretary; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Federation Councillor for Soroptimist International; and a Churchwarden. In 2013 she was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to Gifted Education.

Lianne Hoogeveen (secretary 2012 - 2016)

Lianne HoogeveenDr. Lianne Hoogeveen is a program director of the Radboud International Training of High Ability (RITHA), a post-academic training at the Radboud Center of Social Sciences, qualified by the European Council for High Ability (ECHA). She coordinates the master specialization 'Gifted Education' at Radboud University. As a mental health psychologist, she examines and counsels adolescents and adults with high abilities at CBO Talent Development in Nijmegen. She is president of the qualification committee of the European Talent Centers and member of the Education Board of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA). As part of the Behavioral Science Institute (BSI) of the Radboud University, Lianne Hoogeveen is involved in research on giftedness and education, cooperating with colleagues of Dutch and international universities. She is a guest teacher in several European and non-European universities.


Editor-in-Chiefs of High Ability Studies

Arthur J. Cropley (editor-in-chief of European Journal for High Ability/High Ability Studies, 1989-1997)

Arthur-J-CropleyArthur Cropley was born in Australia in 1935. He served for 5 years in the Australian Army, was a schoolteacher for 4 years, then obtained his PhD from the University of Albertain 1965 and taught at the Universities of Reginaand Hamburg, with brief stints in Australia. After retiring he was adjunct professor of engineering at the University of South Australia and visiting professor at the University of Latvia. He was founding editor of High Ability Studies, and is on the board of the Creativity Research Journal. Professor Cropley received the Creativity Award of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in 1997 and in 2004 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Latvia. In 2008 he was admitted as an Officer of the Order of the Three Stars by the President of Latvia. He is the author of 27 books, with translations into a dozen languages.

Joan Freeman (editor-in-chief of High Ability Studies, 1996-1999)

Joan-FreemanProfessor Joan Freeman, PhD, the Founding President of ECHA, is a world expert in the lifetime development of gifts and talents. She is an elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society and holds their Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the gifted and talented, among honours from elsewhere. Joan has written three UK government reports on the educating the gifted, as well as 17 books for scholars and parents and hundreds of academic and non-academic publications. She has given invited presentations in most parts of the world to scholars, practitioners and the public, has made many television programmes and is often in the media. Her private practice in London for gifted children is busy. Joan's latest book, Gifted Lives: What happens when gifted children grow up, describes the lives of gifted people in her unique intimate 35-year study-up.

Albert Ziegler (editor-in-chief of High Ability Studies, 2002-2007; 2015-2020)

Albert-ZieglerAlbert Ziegler, PhD, is the Chair Professor for Educational Psychology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He has published approx. 350 books, chapters and articles in the fields of talent development, excellence, educational psychology and cognitive psychology. Presently he serves as the Secretary General of the International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) and as the Editor-in-Chief of Talent Development and Excellence. His main interests in the field of talent development and excellence are the development of exceptional performances, the Actiotope Model of Giftedness and gifted training programs.

Heidrun Stoeger (editor-in-chief of High Ability Studies, 2007- 2014)

Heidrun-StoegerHeidrun Stoeger, PhD is chair professor for Educational Sciences at the University of Regensburg, Germany. She holds the Chair for School Research, School Development, and Evaluation. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal High Ability Studies and member of the editorial board of the German journal of Talent Development. She also is vice president of the International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) and member of the scientific board of the Austrian Center of Giftedness Research. Her publications include articles, chapters and books on giftedness, self-regulated learning, motivation, fine motor skills and gender.

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