“In my own name as President of ECHA, and on behalf of our General Committee, I am delighted to announce you that our Board has accepted your offering to hold the 10th ECHA conference in Lahti, Finland.”
With these words Javier Tourón (President of ECHA 2000-2004) announced the decision to allocate the conference to Lahti in the hope “that this first conference of ECHA in the Scandinavian region will foster a multitude of initiatives in favour of the gifted and their education”.
“Finland is a northern country of great beauty. About 2/3 of its area is covered by forest and nearly 200 000 lakes. The coastal archipelago with its labyrinth of waterways is extremely beautiful. It is an advanced society with a high level of education. (…) Lahti is located about 100 km Northeast of Helsinki and is the gateway to the Finnish Lake District, well-known for its natural beauty where inland waterways dominate the landscape.”
(website of palmenia)
September 13-16 2006 was the date when the 10th conference “Values and Foundations in Gifted Education – Reflections on the Ethics of Multiple Intelligences” was held. The Organizing Committee was in the capable hands of President of ECHA Franz Mönks, Secretary of ECHA Johanna Raffan, Prof. Javier Touron, University of Navarra (Spain), Harald Wagner, Bildung und Begabung E.V. (Germany), Prof. Kirsi Tirri, University of Helsinki (Conference Chairman, Finland) and Prof. Jarkko Hautamäki, University of Helsinki (Finland). The conference took place in the Congress Centre Fellmanni – Lahti Adult Education Centre, a building designed by Arto Sipinen and completed in 1987. The facades of this building are primarily made up of brushed white concrete slabs, Lapp marble and glass.
The conference was attended by 215 participants from 37 different countries. The largest groups of participants came from Finland, Germany, Spain, UK and the Netherlands, but there were people from some unexpected countries like China, Kuwait, Korea, Macao, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Thailand as well.
“In this 10th Conference of the European Council for High Ability, the values and foundations in gifted education are discussed in the framework of multiple intelligences. We will reflect on all the original intelligences identified by Gardner in our program including linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. Furthermore, we investigate the new possible intelligence types that are discussed in the professional literature including environmental, emotional and spiritual intelligences. The scientific and ethical foundations of each intelligence type need to be considered before we can educate and nurture them in effective and moral ways. This 10th Conference of the European Council for High Ability should serve as the groundwork for a profound analysis of the values and foundations in gifted education. The participants will become more familiar with the latest advances and possibilities related to multiple intelligences. The ongoing research and practice in this field is going to be reviewed in the different keynote and paper presentations.”
(Kirsi Tirri, Conference Chairman)
Keynote speakers were Risto Saarinen (Finland) on “Virtues, Gifts and Talents: Protestant and Catholic Traditions”, Jane Piirto (USA) on “Understanding creativity in the Domains of Visual Arts and Creative Writing, using the Piirto Pyramid of Talent Development as a Framework” and Ilkka Niiniluoto (Finland) on “Ethical Issues of Research and Education”. Invited speakers were Wilma Vialle (Australia), Joan Freeman (UK), Kari Uusikylä (Finland), Jarkko Hautamäki (Finland), James Reed Campbell (USA), Leila Pehkonen (Finland) and Jean-Luc Patry (Austria).
All together 150 papers were presented during the conference. There were three major themes: on Thursday values and foundations, on Friday creativity, music and art and on Saturday science.
As a first time visitor, this doctoral student stated:
“The facilities in Lahti were good and the staff worked hard to make everything go as smoothly as possible. I think they succeeded very well. I found the atmosphere scientific and relaxed at the same time. That combination made the conference an enjoyable experience to me. (…) All in all, the conference offered a good review of actual gifted education. Lots of ideas, results, and methods such as new questionnaires were presented.“
(Kristiina Holm, ECHA news vol. 20 no. 2 November 2006)
Chairman Kirsi Tirri has some good memories as well:
“I can remember the good quality of the conference presentations. We published three books from the conference papers. The weather was beautiful and people were happy, good memories!”
The website of the conference is still available with lots of material.