Category Archives: International

Templeton Fellows Reunion in Lithuania!

2015-11-02 13.01.48Belin-Blank Center Associate Director for Professional Development Laurie Croft recently went to Kaunas, Lithuania for the 3rd International Conference: Gifted Children: Challenges and Possibilities 2015, and she saw some familiar faces!  Dr. Croft (far left) poses above with Templeton Fellows who attended the 2008 Wallace Symposium as representatives of their countries.

To the right of Dr. Croft is Dr. Bronė Narkevičienė, Dean, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Kaunas University of Technology, site for the conference; Dr. Narayan Desai, Principal Investigator, Tribal Mensa Nurturing Program, India; and Dr. Pedro Sanchez Escobedo, Professor of Education, Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, Mexico.

Congratulations, CSP!

China Scholars Program (CSP) students attend a graduation reception at the Belin-Blank Center with their families. Twelve students graduated this year and most plan to attend graduate school in the US. We wish them all the best!

Acceleration, Wilderness, and Everything In Between

While attending COGE at the University of New South Wales, Belin-Blank Center Director Susan Assouline met Jake Widjaya, who presented about his experiences as a gifted student with a limb difference.  He was accelerated, and he writes in TableAus, the magazine of Australian Mensa about his experiences participating in a wilderness program while two years younger than the other students.

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In Need of a Solution: Medical Care and Education in Gambia

Breonna Carroll is an Iowa Talent Project (ITP) student and is a photojournalism major and is also earning a Global Health Certificate. She recently finished her international requirements through the MHIRT program this summer and has been selected to present her photographic work and research at an art show in April. If you are interested in the environmental and health efforts in Africa, you won’t want to miss this event.

THE GAMBIA Artist Statement

As I sat scrunched in a rickety minivan traveling down an unmarked dirt road I saw the main Gambian dump site. For the first time in my life I silently watched as mothers, children and men scrupulously scavenged through plumes of smoke and refuse lumped together like mini volcanoes. All were diligently focused on finding a shiny reward of metal to turn into a pot, a spoon or tourist jewelry; anything that would turn into money. As a 20 year old African American who had never seen a dump site besides the one in Toy Story 3 I was completely baffled that an entire community was un-begrudgingly living with the suffocating stench of burning refuse. Why weren’t the people up in arms, pounding on their president’s door? I was sure I could rally a group of concerned citizens to flood the streets ready to clean. Not one thing was picked up.

Instead, for three months I listened. At the end the only thing that I had rallied together was the realization that in order for my concerns to be answered I must ask if they are the concerns of those whom they would most impact. It is not my job to tell people what they need, it is to help them see they have the capability to make a change.

The Gambian government has made major strides in providing its citizens with free or affordable healthcare. However, it is now time to focus on cleaning up the environment so that Gambian residents benefit fully from their government’s efforts. This is a brief visual documentation of the triumphs and shortcomings of a nation that deserves better. Through my lens I hope to tell the story of an emergent people who are strong and intelligent, but are also desperately in need of a solution.

Posting from Portugal

Our director’s caption: Heading to the conference venue…a bright and sunny day and enthusiasm abounds!

Belin-Blank Center Director Susan Assouline, conference organizer Alberto Rocha, Zenita Guenther (Brazil), and Cristina Palhares (Portugal).

Belin-Blank Center Director Susan Assouline, conference organizer Alberto Rocha, Zenita Guenther (Brazil), and Cristina Palhares (Portugal).

Talking Acceleration in Portugal

B-BC Director Susan Assouline is in Portugal, and she reports that educators everywhere struggle with similar issues in gifted education:


The day started with a three-hour workshop on acceleration! One of my favorite topics. In Portugal, Brazil, or the US, the issues are the same…

Impacting Gifted Education Worldwide

The Belin-Blank Center’s administrators have some exciting international presentations and workshops coming up – learn more about the places they’re headed to speak about gifted education.

Presentations Map



Click on the image above to enlarge.

Dr. Laurie Croft (Administrator, Professional Development) will be traveling to Quezon City in the National Capital Region of the Philippines at the end of November.

A Templeton Fellow, Dr. Leticia Peñano-Ho, invited Dr. Croft to do a two-day training about differentiation titled “Differentiation: A Whole School Program” in conjunction with the Philippine Center for Gifted Education‘s annual convention.

PCGE expects about 200 educators, but you can learn more about how to join them on their Facebook page.


Dr. Croft will also head to New Delhi in the Delhi National Capital Territory in India at the beginning of February.  She is on the planning committee for the 1st International Conference on Research in Education and Curriculum Planning for Gifted Minds (February 4 – 6), and she has also been invited to be a plenary speaker.  This conference has been spearheaded by the Jagadis Bose National Science Talent Search (JBNSTS), which is hoping to host similar events in the future.

While in India, Dr. Croft plans to work with another Templeton Fellow, Dr. Narayan Desai, and his wife, Dr. Devasena Desai (who was a Belin-Blank Fellow three years ago), as they collaborate with Jnana Prabodhini Institute of Psychology at Pune University (Maharashtra State) to launch a professional development program in gifted education.


Belin-Blank Center Director Dr. Susan Assouline will be in Portugal November 22-23 as a keynote speaker at the inaugural ANEIS conference in Porto, Portugal.  The conference theme is “Giftedness:  Challenges of teaching and learning in different contexts.”  The title of Dr. Assouline’s talk is “From Gifted Education to Talent Development:  A Global Perspective.”


In early January, Dr. Assouline will travel to Sydney to participate in the University of New South Wale’s (UNSW) Certificate of Gifted Education Program (COGE), which has been in existence since 1991.  She is looking forward to teaching the opening course, “Key Concepts and Issues in Gifted Education.”

COGE is offered through the UNSW Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre, which has partnered with the Belin-Blank Center since 1995.  A highlight of the partnership is Professor Miraca U.M. Gross’s co-authorship, with Professors Colangelo and Assouline, on A Nation Deceived.

The Netherlands

On November 1st, Director Emeritus Dr. Nicholas Colangelo will present at an international conference organized by the Center for the Study of Giftedness (CBO) and the Behavioural Science Institute of the Radboud University Nijmegen titled “Potential Development and Gifted Education.”