The ECHA conference in 2002 wasn’t to be held in Rhodes in the first place: it was assigned to Jerusalem, Israel. Due to the unstable situation in Israel the location was put up for discussion in the General Committee meetings in 2001:
“The members agree that the security situation in Israel is a matter of serious concern. Under the present conditions most of the interested persons would not consider travelling to Israel.”
(Minutes of the ECHA General Assembly, 3 August 2001)
And indeed, a few months later the decision was made to move to Rhodes, Greece:
“Developments have led to the decision to cancel the ECHA conference in Jerusalem 2002. (…) The reply from the Israeli Ministry of Education indicates understanding for and agreement with the ECHA position that the current circumstances in Israel do not provide a reasonably reliable basis for planning a conference in this country. (…) ORTRA proposes to hold the conference on the island of Rhodes, Greece, from 9-13 October 2002. The Executive Committee decides unanimously to accept this proposal.”
(Minutes of the ECHA Executive Committee, 14/15 sept 2001)
And thus the 8th ECHA conference took place in Hilton Rhodes Resort, Rhodes, October 9-13 2002. The title of the conference was “Development of human potential: Investment into our future” and it was organized by Ortra.
“Rhodes island is known as the ‘Isle of the Sun’. With its fresh Mediterranean air and sandy beaches it is the perfect location to hold a conference. The Hilton Rhodes Hotel is ideally located on the beach of Ixia, just four kilometres from the magnificent city of Rhodes, where you can find an exciting combination of medieval castles and palaces with modern shops, cafés and bars. This premier hotel is set in a beautiful, landscaped paradise overlooking the Aegean Sea. With first class conference facilities and deluxe accommodation your experience will be memorable.”
(ECHA News vol. 15 no. 2 October 2001)
According to a Greek myth, Zeus had divided the world among the Gods, but Helios, the God of the Sun – being absent – received nothing. Then the island of Rhodes rose up from the sea and was given to Helios. According to another myth Rhodes was born from Apollo – also God of the Sun – and nymph Rhodos, daughter of Poseidon, God of the Sea.
In this sunny, mythic and historic setting the organization of the conference was led by Chairman Prof. Dr. Franz J. Mönks.
An amount of 222 participants found their way to this beautiful place. They came from 34 different countries, among which were many Eastern European countries: Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakian Republic, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia. But there were also participants from as far as South Korea, Australia, Bermuda, South Africa, New Zealand and Indonesia. There were large groups of participants from Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.
Keynote speakers were Sidney M. Moon, Purdue University (USA) on “Developing Personal Talent”, Prof. Dr.Wolfgang Schneider, University of Würzburg (Germany) on “Development of Giftedness and Expertise” and Prof. Dr. Ioannis Paraskevopoulos (Greece) on “Education for creativity and giftedness/talent in Greece”.
Apart from the keynote speakers there were eight invited lectures, four symposia, 114 individual papers and 27 poster-presentations.