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WCGTC Webinar – How to Advocate for the Gifted?

January 25 @ 11:00 am - 1:30 pm


(Times are in Central European Time)

Educators, parents, and legislators can make a difference in the lives of gifted children worldwide by ensuring the realization of their valuable potential to the benefit of humankind. However, many gifted individuals are still not identified. Others have limited access to resources and opportunities. How can this situation be changed? One strategy is to advocate for the rights and needs of these children. Gifted children need as many spokespersons as possible. The purpose of this webinar is to discuss how to advocate for the gifted. The presenters will share examples of best practices and showcases some of what has been implemented in their countries to draw attention to the gifted, to disseminate information about talent development, and to create a constructive and creative dialogue in society to support gifted children.

Ahmed Hassan Hemdan - Webinar Presenter

Ahmed Hamden

This presentation sheds light on some recent showcases in some Arabic countries to promote giftedness. One of the enrichment programs is exploring the effect of a STEM program on gifted students’ creative problem-solving skills. Another program deals with an online mentoring initiative for gifted high school students during the pandemic in 2021. The presentation also discusses an initiative in relation to offering a STEAM enrichment program to gifted high school students in relation to a unit about COVID-19 that was offered in 2022. The presentation also discusses how teachers and practitioners can develop meaningful, real-life, and hands-on enrichment experiences for gifted students.

Dr. Ahmed Hassan Hemdan is an associate professor at the Dept. of Special Education, College of Education, United Arabic Emirates University (UAEU). He is a working member in some professional organizations such as He received his PhD from the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA in 2006 in Special Education/Gifted. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for Research in Education (IJRE), UAEU. He is currently a member of several specialized professional associations such as the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC, & UAE Delegate), the European Council for High Ability (ECHA), National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and American Educational Research Association (AERA). He published over 40 articles and book chapters about special education, giftedness, and early childhood in international peer-reviewed journals and books: in collaboration with renowned scholars in the field. He participated in several regional and international conferences and chaired several sessions. He led several national research grants in the fields of special education and early childhood. He won several national and regional awards for his scholarly achievements such as honoring by UAEU for publishing in the top 1% journals in the world at 2020, the national research award in Oman at 2017, and the excellence in research by the College of Education, UAEU at 2022. His research interests include assessment and education of gifted and talented students, developing and adapting assessments to the Arabic culture for students with special needs, designing and adapting enrichment programs for gifted and talented students focusing on STEM education, and the educational psychology of preschool children. He is currently a part of a research team in the special education department to implement enrichment STEAM programs in collaboration with Hamdan bin Rashid Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance. He was part of a team of 17 international scholars who developed the Global Principles for Professional Learning in Gifted Education by the WCGTC in 2021.

Alexandra Vuyk - WCGTC Webinar Presenter

Alexandra Vuyk

Paraguay, a small country in the middle of South America, has an excellent law for inclusive education which specifically lists high ability students. However, until now, gifted students have not been adequately served due to a lack of further provisions indicating how to translate this law into practice for the gifted population; this is made worse with a lack of teacher training. In this context, we have organized our work in five components: Awareness, training, intervention, applied research, and advocacy. I will share how we are slowly making progress through those components, which span all the way from free awareness talks and media appearances, to a large-scale grant called Talent Map, to court trials for grade-level acceleration and hearings with the Minister of Education and Senators.

Alexandra Vuyk, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Graduate Studies and Research at the School of Philosophy and Human Sciences, at the Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Asunción, Paraguay, as well as Founder and Director of Aikumby Center for Giftedness and Creativity, the first of its kind in Paraguay. Dr. Vuyk pioneered gifted education research, practice, and advocacy in her country; she co-founded REDPAC Paraguay, the network for professionals working with high ability students, and is Principal Investigator in talent development projects at OMAPA (Multidisciplinary Organization for Support of Teachers and Students). At the National Council for Science and Technology in Paraguay, Dr. Vuyk is ranked as a Level II Researcher (second highest) in the National Program for Researcher Support, and in the Selection Committee for said program. She won the inaugural Emerging Scholar Award of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in 2021, and serves as their Delegate for Paraguay. She is an Associate Editor at Gifted and Talented International and in the Editorial Board of the Journal for Advanced Academics. She holds degrees from the University of Kansas (Ph.D. and M.S., Counseling Psychology) and Emporia State University (M.S., Special Education in Gifted, Talented and Creative; B.S., Psychology and Philosophy). Her research interests include social and emotional development of intellectually and creatively gifted individuals, creative and non-linear career paths, and personality traits related to these paths.

Deb Walker WCGTC Webinar Speaker

Deb Walker

Advocating for gifted learners is a role best undertaken by multiple participants and multiple methods. This session will share a range of examples from Aotearoa New Zealand implemented over the past twenty years to lift the profile of gifted learners in our country. Some have been more successful than others, so we will also unpack not only those that have provided positive outcomes but also the challenges and the strategies we employed to try and overcome these.  At the heart of advocacy is education and at the heart of education are our learners. The role of those with a passion for equity, diversity and inclusion is to advocate for them until they are able to advocate for themselves.  

Deb wears a few hats in gifted education and has now for more than 20 years. She is Project Lead of Gifted NEX, the gifted-ed coordinator of the Massey University Specialist Teacher Programme, a member of the MoE Gifted Advisory, a delegate to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children and has her own gifted consultancy- GEMS Aotearoa. Initially coming from a teaching background with experience in state and kura kaupapa Maori, Deb also spent 10 years delivering specialist gifted education at Gifted Kids and MindPlus, then another 10 as the CEO of New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education. She is passionate about supporting gifted learners through the provision of quality professional learning opportunities and support for educators and is currently a PhD student at Massey University to further her expertise in this area. 


January 25
11:00 am - 1:30 pm


World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
View Organizer Website



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