The major goals of social workers are to enhance human well-being, to promote social justice, and to empower people in need. In recognizing that clients are resourceful and resilient in the face of hardship, social workers appreciate and value strengths of their clients to facilitate a better environment for peoples. In addition, as a profession working with a diverse array of clients in different contexts, social workers’ competence related to diversity and culture is of fundamental importance as well. With these fundamental beliefs, social workers are concerned with social policy and social work practice which can enhance strengths of people in diverse milieus, while education and research in social work play key roles in responding to social problems.
The 2017 Summer University participants will be invited to discuss their practices in valuing strengths and embracing diversity in the social work profession. The keynote seminars on the first two days of the Summer University will focus on policy, practice, education and research that seek to promote strengths and respecting diversity in social work. The main theme will then be examined through lectures in the subsequent days around three sub-themes: minorities and integration, poverty and social mobility, together with social innovation and user participation.
To address various dimensions of valuing strengths and respecting diversity in different cultural contexts, lectures, presentations, workshops and local agency visits will be conducted to enhance participants’ understanding of the contemporary social conditions. Research findings in related fields of social policy and social work practice will also be presented and discussed by social work professionals and participants.
The former editions of the Summer Universities in Social work have been held four times in Lausanne, Switzerland (the topics were ‘Gender and Migration’ (2009), ‘Gender, Intergenerational Relationships and Social Work’ (2011), ‘End of Life and Social Work’ (2012), ‘Vulnerability, Empowerment and Social Work’ (2014)), and once in Vancouver, Canada (‘Youth Transition Forum’, 2013). More than a hundred students and fifty professors and professionals coming from 20 different countries participated in these past events, creating strong ties between individuals and the institutions.
The goals of the 6th International Summer University in social work are to promote exchanges among participants from various backgrounds, to facilitate comparative analysis, and to stimulate discussion of new theoretical and practical approaches in social work with aging population. It offers a safe and intellectual place for discussions and debates between social work scholars and students coming from different countries and regions.