Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies


19 Jun 2016 - 24 Jun 2016
Course directors:
Vera Grebenc, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Nino Žganec, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Course description:

Collective responsibility for the future –communities on the move

Although the community is traditionally a place where social work has been established and developed it seems that in recent decades this tradition has faded away. Social workers are less involved in direct work with communities and community development is more a political phrase than a reality. Social workers have to rethink their role in the community, especially when it comes to the questions of solidarity, principles of participation, empowerment, respecting human rights and personal dignity. The aim of the course is to create an open place for discussions and expertise, which can encourage social workers to reclaimethical community work.

Course directors (alphabetically):

Vera Grebenc, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ronald Lutz, University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany

Nino Žganec, University of Zagreb, Croatia

2016 Organising director:

Vera Grebenc, Faculty for Social Work, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


The challenges of the world today are complex and diverse and social work as profession cannot avoid the core reality of its socio-economic and political context of the current world. We live in an era of unprecedented human mobility and migration and they play an important part of shaping the geographical, political, economic and cultural environment. Neo-liberal economics, war conflicts and environmental disasters create displaced and dehumanised people who suffer on all continents and are deprived of the basic human rights. Global climate change and desertification have threatened the livelihoods of millions of people.The mobility, however,brings diversity and connects communities within and across borders to create new linkages among localities. We can observe many reactions toward permanent change and insecurity of life. Escapes into the safe privacy, occasional humanitarianism, manifestation of military and police power, intimidation of vulnerable and racism toward ‘others’.

This year's course will focus on the search for answers how to understand reality and how to place social work as a profession into the changing communities. The ethical responsibility of today professionals is to advocate and promote humanistic values and to respond to human suffering. The attitude of social work professionals legitimate the attitude of community. Therefore, important questions for social workers today are: How to deal with fear, lack of resources, racism and selfishness to create and encourage communities for human, responsible and compassionate co-creation of life it the future.

Attached documents