Season’s Greetings from Benny Andersen, President of AIEJI
Dear friends and colleagues,
As 2010 is coming to an end, it is time for a recapture of the events that happened during the year as well as a look ahead at what will come.
A New Document – Working with Persons with Disabilities
AIEJI’s main focus in 2010 was to create a document about the role of the social educator in working with persons with developmental disabilities. The document takes its stand from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and discusses some of the central paragraphs influencing the daily routines, decisions and actions of social educators working with persons with developmental disabilities.
The aim of the document is to enable people who work with persons with developmental disabilities to make the right decisions in the light of the UN Convention on Disability through making them more aware of how their decisions and actions impact the self-determination and inclusion in society of the persons they work with.
It is my hope that those of you who work with persons with developmental disabilities will read the document and perhaps spend an hour or two discussing it with your colleagues at a staff meeting.
The document can be downloaded from our website.
The Bologna Seminar
As part of the working process of the document about working with persons with developmental disabilities, AIEJI held a seminar in September in Bologna. The aim of the seminar was to go through the first draft of the document and discuss the content, chapter by chapter, in order to see that the right aspects were included.
The seminar turned out to be very successful as a way of collectively endorsing a document and discussing the content. In the future, we will use this method to consolidate projects we work on in order to get more people involved and take ownership.
In May this year I was invited to Leiria, Portugal, to participate in a two-day seminar about social education in Portugal. It was a great experience for me to meet Nelson Gomes, a very energetic and enthusiastic person who not only is the single organiser of the social educators’ association in Portugal, but on top of that is a lecturer at the University while holding two other jobs on the side.
At the same time, it was a great chance to meet young students, future social educators in Portugal, who have chosen social education because they want to make a difference in the world, because they want to create change and help the less advantaged people to better life possibilities.
So, although I do not speak or understand Portuguese, it was a great opportunity for me to talk about why it is important to build international relations, stand together and draw upon each other’s experience and I hope that we can welcome more Portuguese members in 2011.
Brazil and Iceland’s Volcanic Ash
In April I was invited to attend the Third International Congress of Social Pedagogy, CIPS 2010, at the University of Sao Paulo. During my stay in Brazil I was also going to meet with the regional representatives from AIEJI Latin America.
However, as the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland drifted South and covered vast parts of Europe I was unable to depart, although I made it as far as Zurich. This was really a shame because I deeply respect the people that take their time to arrange conferences and seminars, and because I had been looking forward to meeting my AIEJI colleagues to discuss further developments in AIEJI Latin America.
Hopefully, as AIEJI’s second Board meeting of 2011 will take place near Sao Paulo, I will have another chance to meet my Latin American colleagues.
Moscow, October 2010
When the Board of AIEJI held their meeting in October, we had the great honour to be invited to the National Congress of the Russian Union of Social Workers and Social Pedagogues. It was very interesting to talk to colleagues in Russia and hear about the circumstances they work under and how they fight for recognition in their society. They are brave men and women who struggle to make a decent life for those in need and I wish we will have the opportunity to further collaboration in the future.
In 2011, AIEJI’s focus will be to work on a document about working with children and youth at risk. The document will take its stand from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and discuss central paragraphs that influence the daily routines, decisions and actions of people working with children and youth at risk. In the process, we will try to include people from different parts of the world in order to make it as embracing as possible.
The work on the document will start in January 2011 and as we proceed we will keep you informed.
In Europe there are two relevant events taking place in 2011. One is the ENSACT (European Network of Social Action) conference on 10 – 13 April, Brussels: Sustainable Social Development and Economic Challenges: http://www.ensact.eu/
The other is the joint Nordic conference on 11 – 13 August, Reykjavik: Welfare and Professionalism in Turbulent Times:
At the beginning of 2011 we will launch a new version of AIEJI’s website. The main feature of the new version is that it will be possible for you to make comments to every single post, comment and item published on the website. This means that you can all have your say and start discussions about AIEJI’s activities and other relevant things reported on the website.
Another central feature is that you can sign up for email notifications for every new post published on the website. This way you can keep up to date about news, discussions and events reported in the website.
All in all, the new version of the website is a great step towards making AIEJI’s website an informative and useful platform for social educators around the world. But we need your help to make this happen, we need you to want to be part of it and contribute with your opinions and comments.
When the website is ready we will launch it with a more detailed description of the new features.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy entry to the New Year
AIEJI website http://aieji.net/
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