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”.
“The main organizer of the conference was Kurt Heller who has worked on the promotion of the gifted since the 60’s of the last century. He was assisted by Heinz Neber, Christoph Perleth, me, and a lot of others, and we were really excited to welcome so many international colleagues at our university. Nava Butler-Por, John F. Feldhusen, Richard Lange, Franz J. Mönks, Andrzej Sekowski, Jiannong Shi, Klaus K. Urban and Herbert J. Walberg, to name just a few, chaired cutting-edge symposia and workshops. Excursions went to exemplary schools and even to a local brewery – a must in the city hosting the Octoberfest.
The conference week was really thrilling but exhausting too – I slept a whole day when the conference was over. However, the work continued: We produced the proceedings, comprising 429 pages, an amazing collection of international papers.”
The Proceedings of this conference can be downloaded free from https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2517/1/2517.pdf
The conference took place in the university building located at Leopoldstrasse 13 in Munich. The building is the regular residence of the Faculty of Education and Psychology. Because of its pink colour it is named “Piglet Building” by the students.
More than 400 researchers and practitioners from 31 countries attended the conference, and for the first time many people from Eastern Europe were able to attend the conference.
Kurt Heller was, at that time, working on editing the first edition of the “International Handbook of Research and Development of Giftedness and Talent” and had many contacts to international researchers in the field; therefore quite a few outstanding colleagues from outside of Europe attended the conference too.
Opening speaker was Rainer Ortleb, Federal Minister of Education and Science, Germany on “Federal support programs for gifted and talented young people in Germany”. Keynote speakers were Kurt A. Heller, Chairman: “Responsibility in research on high ability”, Klaus K. Urban, Germany: “Recent trends in creativity research and theory”, Joan Freeman, UK: “Thinking in the head and in the world”, Diane Montgomery, UK: “The promotion of high ability and talent through education and instruction” , Brigitte Rollett, Vienna: “Development of high ability” and Wu-Tien Wu, Taiwan: “Growing up gifted and talented in Taiwan”
At the Munich conference Franz J. Mönks was elected the new president of ECHA for a period of 4 years. The conference was well organized and went very well, as stated by Harald Wagner, who was secretary and treasurer of ECHA at that time:
‘The Munich conference went as smoothly as silk. I still find it hard to believe what has been accomplished in just five and a half years. (of ECHA, red.) The fact that there were more than 200 papers presented, many of new work and of a reasonably high standard, is especially rewarding.‘ There were even two abstract-books published: volume 1 and 2.
“Our third, again very successful, conference was in Munich in 1992 – brilliantly organised by Kurt Heller and Ernst Hany. ECHA was by now a swiftly expanding, economically sound, academically respected and vital association.”
(Joan Freeman, ‘ECHA early years’, Ljubljana 2014)