The 4th conference took place in Nijmegen from 8-11 October 1994, its title was ‘Nurturing Talent: Individual Needs and Social Ability.’
The organizing committee was formed by Franz J. Mönks, Willy Peters, Hélène van Haren and Michael Katzko and the Program Consultancy was in the capable hands of Pieter Span.
ECHA's Third European Conference took place in Munich, Germany from October 11-14, 1992.
"The conference's scientific programme," President Joan Freeman wrote in her welcoming statement, "is an outstanding reflection of ECHA's mission to promote high ability by using valid and reliable evidence as the basis of educational decisions."
The conference was organized by Prof. Dr. Kurt Heller and Prof. Dr. Ernst Hany, who had been been very active preparing the conference. There were strong objections to the proposed title – High Ability in an Integrating Europe because of its political implications and its similarity to the name ECHA. The title then was decided to be “Competence and Responsibility”.
“High Ability in a Changing Europe”. What a striking name for the second ECHA conference in 1990. Europe was certainly changing, due to the revolutions in Eastern Europe and the Iron Curtain coming down.
“One of ECHA’s first steps to networking information was to reach out to colleagues on the other side of the ‘Iron Curtain’ in Eastern Europe. Academics and teachers there had been isolated for years by many forces, not least because Western scientific books on education and psychology were not for sale for them. The West and the East needed each others’ expertises. Positive reactions came quickly from all over - East Berlin, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. ECHA added two colleagues from the east to the board - Levcho Zdravchev from Bulgaria and Éva Gefferth from Hungary.”
(Pieter Span, 2008)
“I am truly proud to have the honour of welcoming you all to this first European Conference of ECHA.”
Those were the first words of Opening Address of the President of ECHA at that time, Dr Joan Freeman. She looked back on the start of ECHA and looked forward to what they hoped would happen in the future:
“It was only about 18 months ago that a few people met in Utrecht to discuss how we might form a European association for the highly able. (…) This conference in Zurich is intended both to launch ECHA as a clearly effective organisation, to firm-up network where it has already spread, as well as acting as a focus for making more links. (…)
You may have heard it on the grapevine that our next major conference is to be in Budapest. This beautiful city, either side of the Danube, was the natural choice. It fits into the original ECHA plan to have a European conference, alternately in the West and the East of the continent, in the quiet years either side of the conferences of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. (…)
Those of us here at this first conference of the European Council for High Ability are privileged to be in at the start of a movement which is already growing very fast indeed. (…)
ECHA is the only association covering all Europe, which is specifically concerned with high ability. We have a daunting amount to accomplish in the next few years in getting these outlined ideas and plans into action. I am excited by ECHA, because I believe it is a sound venture which will soon bear fruit for the highly able, and that is why we are here, to start the ball rolling.”
(Opening address From the President of ECHA, Dr. Joan Freeman 10th Nov 1988)