Newsletter June 2017

 

First of all in this newsletter I´ll thank you our Brazilian member organization AEESSP for their great job hosting our world congress in April in Campinas. This was the 19th world congress of AIEJI. More than 500 social educators from 24 different countries participated and it was a very special occasion to celebrate the finest job in the World.

I met so many dedicated professionals and it made me very proud to be the president for AIEJI, the only world organization for social educators.   And I´m very happy that I at the General Assembly was elected for president for 4 more years. Thank you.  I’m also very happy to welcome two more members in the board: Nicola Titta from Italy (ANEP) and Silvia Azevedo from Portugal (APTSES) who is also officer of the European office of AIEJI. I look very much forward to work together with you. Silvia takes over from Maria Jose Calderon from Spain (AEDEQ), and I want to thank Maria Jose for her participation in the board.

We also had to say goodbye to Irmelin Sangolt Tjelflaat from Norway (FO) who did a very good job as a General Secretary for AIEJI in the last congress period. Thank you for that! And also I want to communicate my gratitude to Emmanuel Grupper from Israel (EFSHAR) for his job as the officer of the Middle Eastern office. I’m happy that Emmanuel is still a member of the board.

The next board meeting will be 25th and 26th November in Porto in Portugal. At this meeting we are, among other things, going to discuss how and in which order to work with the coming projects that was decided at the General Assembly at the world congress. In connection to the meeting we are also going to arrange an extra ordinary general assembly in order to elect a new general secretary and maybe also a new treasurer from January 2018 and a new officer to the Middle Eastern office. I’ll come back to that in a coming newsletter.

 

The last AIEJI congress period 2013-2017

In our last congress period I think we in AIEJI managed to work out to very important projects (as you can read in “presidents report” placed in right side margin of this site). In the following I would like to sum up what we did.

We shed light on social educational work with refugee minor asylum seekers and social educational work within mental health. In June 2015, AIEJI published the report ”Social educational work with refugee minor asylum seekers”. The report was drawn up based on interviews with social educators in Israel, Spain, Italy and Denmark, in addition to unaccompanied refugee minors to the latter two countries. Theoretical perspectives and methods were incorporated into the delineation of good practices for social educational work with this target group. The AIEJI board communicated the project to all AIEJI members and other organisations who take an interest in this very important issue. The feedback from AIEJI member organisations has been that the report has been/is very useful for the focus on the social educational Work with this target group – which includes the work at the social educational working places in the respective countries.

During the preceding congress period, AIEJI was added to the list of INGOS holding participatory status within the Council of Europe, and under the auspices of such the AIEJI project concerning social education work with refugee minors was presented in Strasbourg in January 2016. Subsequently, a presentation of the project was sought in the Council of Europe itself under the auspices of the work programme Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the context of major risks prevention and management. This presentation took place in Lisbon in October of the same year, plus an AIEJI article about the project was issued in the publication Migrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers: Inclusion in Disaster Preparedness and Response, October 2016, Council of Europe. The project was also presented under the auspices of UNHCR. And in the northern part of the world the report was presented at a congress in Finland “Courage in social educational work” June 2015.

The next AIEJI report social educational work within mental health was completed in February 2017 and was presented for the first time in its finished form to the world congress in Brazil in April. The project builds on empirical data (interviews) from seven countries: Brazil, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Denmark – involving both social psychiatry as well as treatment psychiatry. As in the project described above, theoretical perspectives and methods have been incorporated into the delineation of good practices for social educational work. In December 2016, the project was presented in an article by AIEJI in the Swiss magazine SozialAktuell (No. 12) with the title Psychische Gesundheit und Sozialpädagogik.

 

AIEJI in the future (2017-2021)

At the general assembly at the world congress it was decided that AIEJI will focus on three subjects in the social educational field within this congress period.

We want to shed light on social educational work with elderly people and people diagnosed with dementia. Focus will be on the latter, since this group represents an increasing part of the world’s population and calls for unique professional competences. It is crucial for people’s life chances, that they get the right support in everyday life. There is a need that the social policy efforts, in favour of the elderly and people suffering with dementia, focus on and give a support, which gives the opportunity for development, participation and codetermination in everyday life. There is a need that we do not only focus on the age, getting older, and there is a need that we do not only focus on the diagnosis dementia.

In this context social education is and can be a key element. Consequently, AIEJI will in the coming congress period initiate a project that focuses on social educators and the role of social education, tasks and the importance of the work with giving elderly people and people with dementia opportunities e.g. to participate in society, to give voice to their life situation. The project must collect worldwide examples of social educational work with elderly people and people with dementia. The project is going to result in a number of recommendations on how social educators can qualify the work with this group of citizens. The project aims to inspire social educators around the world working with senior citizens and citizens suffering with dementia.

Another subject AIEJI will shed light on is Ethics in the social educational work.Values and attitudes play a major role in social education. The social educational profession is the only profession that is consistently citizen-based; it is, as already mentioned in this article, consistently on the citizens’ side. Working with people in challenging life situations also requires that social educators have strong core values. It is about the view of humanity, it is about the professions autonomy, and it is about the political framework for social education around the world.

Today AIEJI already has a number of ethical principles for the social educational work (“Ethical guidelines for social educators”). A number of AIEJI’s member organisations also have ethical core values or ethical guidelines. Discussions and guidelines are crucial for social educators around the world. Therefore, a project that will partly identify currently ethical principles of AEIJI’s member organisations must be initiated. The project is going to identify common approaches and values within social educational work. The project should lead to a new set of values for social educators. A set of values that is going to be a part of AIEJI’s fundament; A set of values that also gives a number of recommendations to AIEJI’s member organisations; A set of values that can inspire social educators around the world in their daily work.

The third subject for AIEJI in this congress period is to be occupied with recruiting more members. Today AIEJI is the only international organisation in the world representing the social educational subject, the social educational profession and social educators as a professional group. Today AIEJI has the strongest position in Europe and Latin America. AIEJI has currently many members around the world. But AIEJI is, like many other international organisations, challenged by the fact that many places are financially strained, a world in which people increasingly focus on themselves. AIEJI’s work on specific projects about social educators’ competences and tasks in a number of fields has proven that there is a need, more than ever, for an international professional association of social educators. If an association like this did not exist, there would be a risk that social education would be reduced from a separate profession to a method within social work. Therefore, it is important and essential that AIEJI continues to be strengthened; that more organisations which represent social educators join AIEJI.

I look very much forward to lead the AIEJI tasks for 2017-2021. And I want to emphasize that it is not enough to develop great projects at board level. The important thing is to make them work in the social educational field and also to use them in political situations when needed. We will in the board do what we can to facilitate this and hope for your support to actively use and communicate the projects. Thanks a lot.

Kind regards

Benny Andersen

(President for AIEJI)

 

 

 

 

 

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