Ready, Steady, Go!

3 April 2011

Poland has Opened a Series of Events Connected to the EU TalentDay with an Impressive Start.

4079124406_cc1e26b471_byPoland has begun the series of European TalentDays with an impressive opening on Monday, March 21st. Besides the massive central event at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, involving 1,500 young students mainly from the smaller towns of Poland, there were hundreds of smaller community events all around the country.

A rich variety of events were designed to stimulate and inspire young participants; there was a chance to take part in exciting experiments, workshops and special film screenings prepared for the students and also to meet respected members of the scientific and artistic community as well as prominent representatives from the sporting world.  Similar to the Hungarian National TalentDay, this occasion provided an opportunity to give recognition to those people who have contributed to their community’s growth through their work using their talents and who can serve as positive role models for the younger generation. High achievers, including an olympic medalist, a physicist and a visual artist were presented with the ’Ambassadors of Talent Discovery Year’ prize. Informal meetings with Ambassadors also gave children and youngsters the chance to get acquainted with people who have years or even decades of experience on their side and who, by sharing their stories with the younger generation, can affirm and possibly enhance young students’ curiosity and motivation in a field.

After the huge opening in Poland, to be followed by a string of events across many parts of Europe, several other countries joined in the celebrations. On Friday, 25th March, the Educational Centre for Gifted Youth, Vilnius hosted a meeting of 21 organisations active in the field of gifted and talented education in Lithuania, in tandem with Vilnius Pedagogical University and the local branch of the UNESCO Commission. The convention featured 13 reports presented by representatives of local organisations with the aim of mapping the variety of activities, practices and methods used in gifted and talented education in Lithuania and sharing the results and challenges of their work, in order to gain a realistic overview of the current situation and be able to set perspectives. The professional meeting will be followed by more festive events this month, such as concerts and exhibitions to be held in local elementary and secondary schools and in the only art school in Vilnius.

One day later, on 26th March, events were speeding up a little bit in diverse geographical points of the continent and also in cyberspace. Cluj-Napoca in Romania hosted its 1st TalentDay with attendees from all over the country. The Nyilas Misi Association, which provides 300-400 student scholarships annually, was in charge of co-ordinating the event and was able to use this festive opportunity for its numerous scholarship holders to meet each other as well as present themselves to a broader community.

In Hungary, the imposing hall of Hagyományok Háza (The House of Tradition) hosted the 2nd National TalentDay and Talent Ambassadors Awards. Prizes were presented to oustanding nominees from diverse fields of life, including:

  • Nóra L. Ritók, an art teacher and head of an art school in one of the most impoverished areas of Hungary, who helps children living in extreme poverty develop and discover new worlds using the tools of fine art education;
  • Dr. Tamás Freund, a neuroscientist and one of the recipients of ’The Brain Prize’ in Copenhagen on May 2nd, 2011;
  • Father Alfréd György, a spiritual leader and motivational speaker who uses his own life experience as a phisically disabled person to help disabled children live fuller lives;
  • Gergely Bogányi, an internationally acclaimed pianist and the founder of a music school in one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country;
  • Gábor Berkes, a young ’craft medalist’, in whom the craft of carpentry blends into art and manual work gets its proper recognition;
  • László Sólyom, the former president of Hungary and devoted advocate of talent support;
  • Mária Petrás, folk singer and ceramic artist who helps to keep the folk traditions of her native Csángóland (now in Moldavia) alive;
  • Ferenc Snétberger, a guitar virtuoso and founder and artistic leader of the European Roma Music School.

Moreover, at the end of the day an unconventional gathering in virtual space was awaiting participants keen on discussing topics related to gifted and talented education, with a global take on the issue. It was one of a series being run by Roya Klingner in Begabungszentrum Bayern, Germany, on this occasion led by Tim Dracup, an independent consultant from the UK with 13 years of experience as a senior official responsible for gifted and talented education and Head of the Gifted and Talented Education Unit in the UK’s Ministry of Education. Those who missed out this event will be able to catch up with the growing group of international attendees on April 23rd, 2011 at 9 p.m. CEST. Next invited speaker is Prof. George Betts from the USA.