The first ECHA scientific publication, the European Journal of High Ability, was published in Sofia in 1990. It was extremely difficult manoeuvring currency through Bonn, Utrecht Hamburg, Vienna and Sofia, and then getting the copies out to the West. The priority was a high academic standard, including work from behind the Iron Curtain. When I became Editor in Chief (1996-1999), I renamed it High Ability Studies because our readership was well beyond Europe. I chose its new publisher, Carfax (now Taylor and Francis) in Oxford, UK, and redesigned the cover, still in print. There were literary-style book reviews in every twice-yearly issue.
I was the founding editor of the European Journal for High Ability, which subsequently became High Ability Studies, serving from 1989 to 1997. During this term of office I placed particular emphasis on stabilizing the existence of the newborn journal (regular appearance on time), on publishing papers going beyond a conceptualization of high ability as high academic ability to include sporting ability, musical ability, artistic ability and the like, and on inclusion of contributions from the (at that time) newly emerging countries of the former Soviet Union. During this period I was very grateful for the support of the ECHA Board and the scholars who contributed their work to the journal, thus ensuring its survival.
I joined ECHA in 1991 and was privileged to be elected to the General Committee in 1994 when the conference was in Nijmegen - my fondest memory of that conference was racing Francoys Gagne to the Dessert Table at the Conference Dinner - he won! In 1998 I joined the Executive. I was then re-elected in 2004 and took on the role of Secretary until September 2012. I had many happy times during my close involvement with ECHA - the music at the Vienna Conference, the organisation of the Oxford Conference, the heat in Debrecen, moving the venue of the 2002 Conference to Rhodes. Vineyards in the dark in Pamplona, The stunning venue of the conference dinner in Lahti and the elegance of Prague. More hot weather in Paris and the great numbers in Munster.
During 14 years I had the privilege to serve as ECHA Secretary and Treasurer, succeeding Pieter Span in this office. My assistant Menna Jones took meticulously care of the membership files and correspondence, what I gratefully acknowledge. The implementation of credit card payment of membership fees was a significant improvement for easy money transfer from a multitude of countries.
In 1983 Franz Mönks introduced me to 'the world of the gifted', which was the start of things to come. In august 1986 I participated in the first Portuguese conference on gifted education in Porto (Fig 1.). During the conference the president of the Portuguese association, Luiz Nazareth and I agreed on a proposal to found a European association. The objectives of this association should be the study and development of high ability, including the international exchange of information related to that subject. This should also include countries in east Europe, behind the iron curtain. I sent this proposal to European participants of recent conferences on giftedness and to local associations in European countries. Almost all the responses were positive. Only some respondents objected: they thought that Europe was not yet ready for such an association and at least there should be a link with the World Council. (The reader should remember that in those days there was a strong resistance against special attention for the gifted.)
Dear ECHA Members! It is our great pleasure to introduce our new ECHA homepage to you. It is especially helpful that our new website became ready before our next Conference in Ljubljana. (You can send the registration to this exciting meeting under the Registration tab.) The aim is to make the website more interactive and useful for ECHA members and professionals on the field of gifted education. Thank You for all your suggestions and assistance in the future! ECHA Community is thankful for the team making this new web-site possible: Martin Reckmann, webmaster, Balázs Hornyák, web-site editor and Dániel Tüzes, web-site content-manager.
www.echa.info is the website of the European Council of High Ability (ECHA)
The domain www.echa.info is registered by Prof. Dr. Christian Fischer
Published by Péter Csermely, President of ECHA
Development and technical support: Nieschlag & Wentrup; Nettrix
The picture of the home page is originated from Tyler Olson (Shutterstock)
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