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Harald Wagner was born in Ratzeburg, Germany in 1943. He studied Psychology at the University of Hamburg and received his Diploma in 1969 and his PhD in 1979. At the University of Hamburg he was engaged in several research projects and in teaching seminars on developmental psychology and methodology.

He was Co-Organizer of the 6th World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children in 1985. From 1988 until 2009 he was Executive Director of "Bildung und Begabung e.V." in Bonn, an association organizing national competitions in mathematics and foreign languages and providing residential summer programmes for gifted high school pupils. 1992 to 2004 he was Secretary and Treasurer of ECHA; 1999 to 2009 he was Chairman of "Arbeitskreis Begabungsforschung und Begabungsförderung (ABB) e.V., a national association for professionals working in the field of giftedness; from 2007 to 2009 he was Chairman of "Arbeitsgemeinschaft rheinland-hochbegabt e.V.", a regional association promoting the support of gifted children in the Cologne area.