“During the Fourth ECHA Conference, we hope to bring scientists and teachers together, and to report on the recent findings on social and cognitive development of gifted persons. Knowledge in this field is necessary to meet individual needs in the classroom, and to improve children’s social ability. At the conference there will be a special programme for teachers of primary and secondary schools. We hope that also many parents from all over Europe will find their way to Nijmegen.”
(Franz Mönks, ECHA news Vol 7 no.2 july 1993)
At that time the ECHA training was taken from London to Nijmegen, where it continued to grow. At the conference the five graduates of the ECHA training in Nijmegen were handed their diploma’s. In the closing session of the 4th ECHA Conference on October 10, 1994 “the granting of the European Advanced Diploma in Educating the Gifted to the first recipients by Prof. Dr. Jan Giesbers, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Laudations will be given by Dr. Joan Freeman”. (quotation from the Conference Program, page 18)
The conference took place at the Radboud University and had the following keynote speakers: Dr. Eric de Korte, Belgium; Dr. Andrew Czeizel, Hungary; Dr Françoys Gagné, Canada; Dr. Cornelis F.M. van Lieshout, the Netherlands; Dr. Robert Plomin, USA; Dr Herbert Walberg, USA. Invited speakers were, among others, for example N. Colangelo and S Assouline, D. Montgomery, W. Peters, S. Reis, J. Renzulli and J. Webb.
“Following the ECHA Conferences in Zurich (1988), Budapest (1990) and Munich (1992), the 4th ECHA conference now takes place in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The University of Nijmegen and in particular the Centre for the Study of Giftedness at the University is hosting this biennial event. (…) The organizers of this conference have worked hard and with pleasure to try and provide all of you with the environment and the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas. We hope you will be returning home with a feeling of satisfaction and with the experience: I am going home an enriched person – emotionally and intellectually.”
(Foreword Franz J. Mönks, chair)
Among the many participants of the conference there was a rather large group from Hungary. As Eva Gyarmathy from the Hungarian Academy of Science wrote in a report in ECHA news Vol 8 no.3 (dec 1994):
“Many Eastern-European experts had the opportunity to present their high quality scientific work at the 4th ECHA conference. We were highly represented, especially in the practical sessions dealing with topics such as trainings, special programs, and teachers. Education of gifted children is becoming essential all over the world, but it has greater importance in our countries. (…) Those who know about Eastern-European countries may have wondered how so many of us could attent the conference. In the past, so many of us could not participate in important international events. Normal participation fees would take a month’s salary in a typical Eastern-European country. Travel costs would take at least another month’s salary and accommodation would take a third. (…) The European Council for High Ability did a lot for the Eastern-European participants. (…) We are especially grateful to Prof. Franz Mönks and his colleagues for the special treatment we received.”
The ECHA truly proved to be an institution for both Western and Eastern Europe!
Being in the Netherlands was a journey in itself to some of the participants, who came from all over the world, as far as Jamayca and the U.S.A.:
“After the conference I rented a car with a girlfriend and travelled quite a bit around the countryside. We were often lost (our children are gifted) which gave us many opportunities to meet people. They were always kind and helpful. A few things I would do differently:
- Learn what the road signs mean
- Don’t casually ask the car rental agent at Schiphol why people are carrying big guns
- Don’t tell the attendant in the underground carpark in Arnhem ‘We think we took a wrong turn to Palace Het Loo’
- Don’t stand in the bus lane while taking a picture of the pay toilet at the intersection.”
(Debbie Andrews, USA, ECHA news Vol 8 no.3 Dec 1994)