Executive Director Tracy L. Cross, Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology, provided the opening keynote address at a conference in Hong Kong, and Kimberley Chandler, the center's curriculum director, represented William & Mary at a conference in Saudi Arabia
Cross' address, which was given at the Hong Kong Annual Gifted Education Conference, was entitled "Differentiated Curriculum, Teaching Strategies, and Student Organizations for Nurturing the Gifted." Several hundred people attended the conference, at the InnoCentre, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR. The event was co-sponsored by the Gifted Education Section of the Education Bureau (GESEB) and The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE).
The presentation is the latest in an ongoing relationship between the Center for Gifted Education in the School of Education at The College of William and Mary and the GESEB and the HKAGE. Prior to Cross' address, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, former executive director of the center and professor emeriti, and Chandler spent two weeks providing training for educators providing gifted education in Hong Kong.
Chandler also travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) this year for a professional development conference on gifted education.
Along with Richard Cash of Bloomington Public Schools in Bloomington, Minn., Chandler worked with teachers, program managers, and master's degree students on topics related to curriculum design and program development.
"The conference participants and organizers extended their gracious hospitality to us and helped us to understand their country and their gifted programs," said Chandler. "Although Dr. Cash and I traveled to KSA in the capacity of trainers, we learned a great deal ourselves about this fascinating culture; from picnicking at the beach with Saudi families, to visiting camel farms, to horseback riding in the desert, our hosts shared special aspects of their lives with us. It was a unique cross-cultural opportunity which will hopefully be the basis of long-term cooperation with KSA."
Abdullah Aljughaiman, director of The National Research Center for Giftedness and Creativity, served as the liaison in Saudi Arabia. He has been working closely with Cross to develop training programs for teachers and administrators in both Saudi Arabia and at William & Mary. In July and August of 2010, a group of Saudi students will spend three weeks at the center, studying special topics in gifted education.
Cross believes that Chandler's visit to KSA represents the most recent step in a long-term mutually beneficial relationship between the Center for Gifted Education and The National Research Center for Giftedness and Creativity. More importantly, it represents a long- term humanitarian effort between the United States and Saudi Arabia.