WORDS FROM THE CHAIRMAN
The European Talent Support Network (ETSN) is an umbrella organization for around 400 institutions dedicated to the common objective of talent development. However, the range of these institutions is gigantic. They vary with regard to:
- Size (from just a few members to tens of thousands of members);
- Expertise in talent development and gifted education (from layperson associations to specialized researched institutions and counseling centers);
- Focus (talent development as the only aim versus talent development as one aim among many others),
- Connectivity (rather isolated institutions with no experience in advocacy versus highly politically active organizations with a number of coalitions in talent development).
Despite the heterogeneity of the institutions, they have two important characteristics in common. They do all agree on the ETSN´s key objective: The support of talent development in all its manifestations. They all face the same challenging situation to act in highly dynamic environments with no stable promotion and funding structures. Indeed, though European countries vary regarding amount and reliability of providing resources for talent development, in none of the countries — with the possible exception of Hungary – do we have a satisfactory, promotion-relative-to-funding structure. Such an uncertain situation calls for cooperation of like-minded institutions.
The ETSN aspires to be such a highly effective network. Nevertheless, how well can it fulfill its ambition? I currently see two main challenges before the organization. The first challenge is that we still didn´t reach the critical mass to be as forceful as we want to be. And so, we need to expand. We need to coopt more talent centers and more talent points, which leads us to a second challenge. Quantity certainly does not equal quality. The ETSN must come alive, after all. Network theory makes a distinction between nodes and edges. A network consists of many nodes, and in the case of the ETSN, of Talent Centers and Talent Points. The connections between the nodes are called edges. If we do not establish these edges via cooperation between Talent Centers and Talent Points, we will not have the edge over other competitors for funds, political influence, and societal impact.
I want to conclude my introductory remarks by expressing my deep gratitude to fellow members of the ETSN Council: Colm O´Reilly, Csilla Fuszek, Mojca Jurisevic, and Antonios Apostolu. In recent elections, the whole of the council has been re-elected. We want thank the voters for their trust, and we continue to rely on their support. I want to thank Colm O’Reilly and Csilla Fuszek in particular, for accepting yet another term as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.
Albert Ziegler, Chairman ETSN
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