JOURNAL ISSUE 3
2000/2001

table of contents

 

Toward a Peaceable Community

The IUC Dubrovnik School of Social Work Theory and Practice: Orientation for Future Assessment

Promoting Awareness, Education and harmonious Responsibility for the Creation of Programs and Communities of Non-violence, Justice and Peace


Mission Statement

1 "Towards Peaceable Community"
1.1. Introduction
1.2. Protection of Life
1.3. Protection of Humanity in a Technical Era
1.4. Protection of Human Livelihood and Well Being in a World Economy
1.5. Promotion and Protection of Consensual, Egalitarian, Participatory Open Political Society
1.6. Protection of Cultural Diversity and Peaceful Coexistence
1.7. Promotion and Protection of Neighborhoods and the Common Good
1.8. Protection of Personal Integrity and the Encouragement of Human Solidarity

 

2. Projects "Towards Peaceable Community"
2.1.Introduction
2.3. The IUC Dubrovnik School of Social Work Theory and Practice
2.4. International Consortium for Social Work Education
2.5. Centers for Spirituality and Social Work
2.6. International Social Work Crisis Teams
2.7. Communities of Peace and Justice

3. Methodology
3.1. An Introduction to Methodology
3.2. Methodological Principles
3.3. Structure and Organization


Mission Statement

We seek to prepare social work students, practitioners faculty and allied professionals for collaboration in the creation of a just and peaceable world, locally, regionally and internationally building a socially sensitive responsible global citizenry committed to the dignity and well being of all persons children, youth and adults.


1. Towards Peaceable Community

1.1 Introduction

Participants in the Inter-University Center School of Social Work have shared their care and concern for our world in courses and symposia over the last ten years. As we begin our second decade of meeting and working together, the vision of "Peaceable Community" inspires in us a renewed commitment to mutual reflection and action.

We are all experiencing the negative effects of an increasingly globalized culture and economy, if not to the same degree. While a few derive great benefit from a homogenized world society, the greater majority of people in many countries suffer continued economic and ecological threat. We are all ultimately at risk from damage to the planet and a global economic system which is unable to distribute goods and services fairly to all of the earth's peoples.

Our common plight provides the basis for a new international solidarity in the human family. There is no simple blueprint for an alternative to the current antagonistic civilization. A competitive, polarizing, alienating social order cannot be the civilization of a future in a truly global village. The many different efforts, different forms of resistance and initiatives for alternative systems at every level must be shared, encouraged and somehow coordinated.

An alliance of interests, able to meet the threats against the human and natural life of the planet demands a participatory, and consensual civilization, based on the recognition and integration of cultural diversity.

Is a culturally and politically diverse world able to face the economic and ecological urgencies affecting our human survival? Can we think and act globally from different local realities to jointly build a new world community?

We believe a vision, logic and program of peaceable world community is not only possible but our only real choice. As an international network of social work practitioners, educators, students and allies, we invite our colleagues to join in inspiring and summoning the world to build just and healthy communities. At every level, let us commit ourselves to the humane project of creating a peaceable civilization upon our planet. Let us commit ourselves to:


1.2 The Protection of Human Life

We face the huge and crucial challenge of living in harmony with the whole of life on our planet. Our earth is a finite and limited ecosystem, which we are called to treasure and develop with great care. In particular we must attend to the reality that:

· many natural resources are finite, unrenewable and unequally distributed
· resources are too readily exploited for maximum profit without regard for social or ecological cost
· technology without wisdom and science without humanity bring high levels of waste and pollution
· human arrogance and ignorance dramatically amplify inevitable natural disasters


1.3 The Protection of Humanity in a Technological Era

This century has witnessed an extraordinary advance of technology as an end in itself, with an increasing disregard for natural and human consequences. We see for example:

· an emphasis on technologies and technique without the guidance of human values and moral
vision
· research and methodologies used without ethical reflection
· reduction of human face to face contact due to the employment of technology
· technological transformation which reduces employment and eliminates whole sectors of traditional work and vocation

1.4 Protection of Human Livelihood and Well-being in a World Economy

Although we are becoming more interdependent and less and less able to sustain ourselves autonomously, a world economy driven by global scale institutions and a "free" market widens the gap between rich and poor. We are challenged to redress this dynamic fostered by such means as:

· the denial of rights over subsistence and livelihood
· wages inadequate to the costs of basic needs
· exploitation of child and women's labor
· movement of enterprises to areas of cheapest labor and the use of temporary, or
migrant workers
criminal organization and activity including white collar crime, money laundering,
drug cartels, slavery and prostitution
· the increasing power of international monetary institutions and financial mechanisms
· the withdrawal of subsidies to the poor
· the refusal to implement economic rights and justice

1.5 Promotion and Protection of Consensual, Participatory, Egalitarian and Open Political Society

While many citizens have an opportunity to share in making the decisions which affect their lives, we see the authorities powers exercising control and domination in grievously corrupt, destructive and inhumane ways. We must resist:

· the denial of basic human rights
· the forced marginalization and displacement of peoples
· the corruption of international institutions and the refusal to implement charters and covenants created to assure peace and dignity
· the reliance on sophisticated armaments, militarism and violence
·"façade" or "restricted" pseudo democratic forms which mask the power of elites, wealth and dictatorial politics
· the failure to prosecute criminal acts and agents

1.6 Protection of Cultural Diversity and the Promotion of Peaceful Coexistence

We struggle to protect cultural diversity, preserve traditional wisdom, promote the respectful acceptance of human differences and encourage peaceable coexistence among peoples in the face of:

· a rapidly growing dominant ideology of individualism, competition, consumerism and careerism replacing social ideals
· the suppression of creativity and the degradation of beauty
· cultural homogenization, cultural colonization and a crisis in human values
manipulation of the media
· loss of traditions, long generations of human wisdom, spiritual and artistic heritage

1.7 Promotion and Protection of neighborhood and the Common Good

We struggle for the promotion and protection of neighborhoods and community support systems where people learn to care, share, serve and act together for the common good in the face of:

· violence, fear and the lack of basic safety
· denial of local, indigenous leadership
· lack of shelter, food, clothing, education and health care
· dismantling of social security
· victim blaming and burden shifting to the poor, abused and marginalized
· stereotypes and prejudice
· addictions

1.8 Protection of Personal Integrity and the Encouragement of Human Solidarity

We seek the protection of personal integrity and the encouragement of solidarity in the human family in the face of:

· the silencing of the oppressed
· the denial and deprivation of basic human rights
· loss of personal identity and hope
· an increase in anxiety, apathy and despair
· loss of faith and trust


2. Projects Towards a Peaceable World Community

2.1 Introduction


Social work education has had a strong tradition of teaching in connection with the realities and challenges in human life and society. The participants in the Inter-University Center School of Social Work form a broad international academic community of academic and practical interests. We are actively exploring the development of five related projects: the continued growth of the IUC School of Social Work as a center of theory and practical education based on humane and peaceable values; the formation of an international consortium of social work education especially devoted to making resources available to all; the fostering of local/regional centers of spirituality and social work; the formation of an international network of social work, crisis teams; and the encouragement of communities of peace and justice in our world.


2.2 The IUC Dubrovnik, Croatia School of Social Work Theory and Practice

The Inter-University Center for Post-graduate Studies (IUC) is an independent international center founded in 1972. At its peak prior to the wars in the region the center had over 400 university members from all over the world and covered almost all areas of scientific and professional activity. The mode of operation is very open, flexible, egalitarian and participatory. The Academic Program is composed of international and multi-disciplinary courses and conferences, Each course has an Organizing Director, several Course Directors, seven to 15 Resource Persons (lecturers) and participants. Maximal possible diversity is encouraged. The overall program and related activities of the IUC are coordinated by an International Board and the Secretariat; a very small (two person) administrative team offers support for the entire program. In the future, the IUC will become increasingly relevant in bringing together scholars and students from different backgrounds and cultures to discuss scientific programs and persevere in promoting dialogue and understanding and contributing to the creation of a culture of peace.

The School of Social Work Theory and Practice was initiated in the year 1987, with the support of the International Association for Social Work Education (IASW) and the International Social Workers' Federation. At present, the School of Social Work Theory and Practice offers five courses. When fully developed, it will offer eight courses throughout the month of June (two courses per week and 40-50 direct contact hours). Courses reflect the interest of the social work faculty, researchers, practitioners and students, in all regions of the world.

During 10 years of operation, the School of Social Work Theory and Practice has offered courses in Dubrovnik, at Brijuni, in Zagreb, Budapest, Seattle and Philadelphia. On the average, 100 participants meet every year. The School has prepared five books of edited lectures, available to social work and related helping professions. In the year 1998, the School initiated the electronic Journal of Social Work Theory and Practice. The journal is part of the School's Web Site, which, when fully developed, will cover all relevant facets of the annual academic offering and encourage an ongoing dialogue among colleagues able to attend the School and a large number of those, eager to be involved but unable financially or otherwise, to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia.


At this point we offer five courses and have initiated work on the sixth one:
· Spirituality and Social Work
· Social Policies and Social Work
· Developing Neighborhood and Community Support Systems
· Social Work with Children and Youth
· Social Work with Juvenile Offenders
· Social Work Theory, Research, Assessment and Evaluation

2.3 International Consortium for Social Work Education

Over the years the IUC Dubrovnik School of Social Work Theory and Practice developed a network of the profession in all regions of the world. At the same time there is a great demand for quality social work education, in particular international, culturally sensitive social work education. We are envisioning an international consortium as a coordinating body which will assess the general and specific needs, search for the most appropriate available way to satisfy these needs and offer actual programs in Dubrovnik or other locations; as a correspondence course; via the use of ITV, the Internet, or other electronic options; as independent (guided) study and research.

This educational program will take into consideration the following points:
· Global education with content which is individually tailored to meet the needs of particular regions, countries, and persons;
· Social Work students and Social Workers who live and work in isolated regions without higher educational institutions;
· Local and regional Social Work traditions as well as the specific needs of a given population.

Our intention is to offer high quality, flexible, open, and participatory Social Work education with transferable credits. Experienced Social Work faculty, with special interest in bridging the gap between the developed and developing regions of the world, will offer Social work education which will be respectful of traditions, values, and history. We envision using as faculty associates recently retired faculty, faculty on sabbatical, and young, well-qualified professionals. The Consortium will enable this community of scholars to share their wisdom and offer services for the common good and advancement of Social Work theory and practice.

2.4 Centers for Spirituality and Social Work

Out of the Spirituality and Social Work course, we seek to encourage the formation of small local-regional Centers for Spirituality and Social Work as seed beds where understanding and cooperation may be encouraged among peoples of diverse spiritual and religious experience.

We see such centers supporting individuals and communities to maintain personal integrity and the solidarity of the human family in the face of impersonal, technological, social, economic, and political forces.

We see such centers supporting healthy family life and caring, compassionate neighborhoods especially responsive to the needs of the most fragile and vulnerable among us: children, the elderly, the ill and the frail.

We see such centers gathering from our many perspectives renewed social ethical thought and fresh wisdom on our relationship to each other and to the web of life of which we are a part.

We see such centers as a place for linking professional social workers across the world who share a common interest in developing approaches to social work practice, theory, research, and education that are respectful and knowdgable about the diverse religious and nonreligious spiritual traditions and expereicnes of service users.

We see these centers exploring the themes necessary to building a truly peaceable world: hospitality for the stranger, social sensibility, healing and mercy, reconciliation and forgiveness, justice, the right and good use of power, freedom and responsibility, hope and love.

We see these centers helping to build understanding of the deep spiritual missions and motives which most profoundly animate human life.

We see these centers taking on the tender task of building trust at the most local level between diverse peoples and fostering interfaith dialogue between people of diverse religious and nonreligious perspectives in order to promote, respect and cooperation throughout the world.

Our hope is that these local-regional centers will provide a place where those who have an interest in social service, education and action can share both the spiritual uniqueness and common ground which is at the heart of caring and community building.

Our hope is that these Centers of Spirituality and Social Work will provide places of calm and beauty where we may reflect together and alone on the journey toward wholeness.

Our hope is that these Centers will bring together the generations with a special care that students and youth may know that they are part of an ongoing history of human striving for peace.


2.5 International Social Work Crisis Teams

Social Workers and allied professions represent an important resource in the human community in times of humanitarian crisis and natural disaster. We are exploring the formation of an international network of Social Service Teams, available to serve in their local areas and respond to calls for support from within their own region, country, and the wider world.

We envision teams being trained in a shared and common curriculum that emphasizes cultural sensitivity, collaboration, community development, and care for local conditions, needs and leadership.

We envision teams monitoring potential conditions of conflict and crisis locally and being able to respond to requests for assistance from others.

Our hope is that the network of teams will also have the capacity to support local post-crisis recovery actions and continually evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts.

Assessing the feasibility and planning the project in several pilot areas are the next steps. As we begin we invite the collaboration of all appropriate partner groups, the experience of those who have faced crisis first-hand, and the wisdom of the human family's elders.


2.6 Communities of Peace and Justice

We propose to promote awareness, human values, public actions and social/economic changes which lead to the making of a just and peaceable community.

Principles of Peace Awareness
· Our own peace and well-being depends upon the peace and well-being of all.
· Justice is a local issue in a global context.
· Real peace will come only with justice.
· Ultimately this is a justice-giving process. War is economic gain for a few and economic loss for many.
· Peace is not an absence of weapons but a matter of heart, mind, and social commitment.

Promotion of Peace Awareness
· Through seminars, workshops, conferences, religious communities, recreation programs, cultural and arts performances.
· Education in the workplace and in employment programs.
· Peace events such as an International Day of Peace and Non-Violence.

Promotion of Human Peace Values
· Respect for diversity in individuals, groups and cultures.
· The harmony of all life
· Freedom of thought and expression
· Understanding of the inherent worth and dignity of all persons

Practice of Peace Values
· Practice of non-violence in relationship to others and nature
· Education at all levels in conflict resolution, mediation, co-existence and consensus skills
· Gender and culture specific education and attention to children.

Principles of Public Guidance and Action
· Faithfulness to the peace wisdom of diverse human traditions.
· Quality education including both human rights and duties with care and attention to all persons and gender and needs.
· Care and concern for all with support for those with special needs.
· Freedom of media and communications.
· Acceptance and co-existence with minority peoples and groups.

Practice of Public Guidance and Action
· Humble leadership
· Public discussion in the making of policy
· Accountable government

Principles of Peaceable Social/Economic Change
· An economy of sharing and cooperation
· Wise use and recycling of resources
· Jobs, health care and adequate, affordable housing for all

Practice of Peaceable Social/Economic Change
· Private initiatives and creativity
· Self-help and cooperative movements
· Appropriate use of technology and alternative production
· Public responsibility to ensure the common good


3. Methodology

3.1 Introduction

For a work of this scope, it is difficult to spell out the usual methodologies. We have identified, instead, seven methodological principles to guide our projects.

3.2 Methodology Principles

It is our intention to conceptualize and carry out all projects as:
Fully open, flexible, and collaborative in all stages
Egalitarian, with special efforts to reach and include the most isolated and marginalized, valuing all cultural contributions and all levels of experience and education.
Participatory, not simply listening for, but actively seeking "people's wisdom"
Locally rooted and based, while connecting and contributing to a global network of justice and peacemaking
Respectful of the human worth and dignity of all persons and of our natural resources
Honest, understandable and transparent in procedure, report administration and accounting
Simple, modest and humble in operation, using the existing infrastructure

3.3 Structure and Organization

Coordination:
We propose that each project have a Coordinating Board made up of an international consortium of Project Coordinators and Facilitators. We envision each Coordinating Board including a representative mix of regional knowledge, appropriate project expertise and skills, and administrative capacity.

Staff:
We envision projects being planned and implemented at local and regional levels by faculty and leadership on sabbatical, retired instructors, practitioners and volunteers.

Procedures:
We propose always to begin with an assessment and evaluation of the local regional circumstance, to be followed by development of specific methods for each project concerning:
Program content
Training for associates (staff and volunteers)
Implementation
Evaluation and follow-up

Use of Technology:
We envision the use of appropriate technology for communication and operation, drawing upon and encouraging new means of serving with minimal cost and maximum effectiveness, particularly in areas of limited resources.

Funding:
We anticipate that seed monies and small expense budgets will need to be raised. We will seek out appropriate partners or form, if necessary, responsible agencies to administer such funds as are absolutely necessary for each project. Our expectation is that the majority of funding will be developed by and for the local/regional levels of each project.


An Invitation

We share this document as an encouragement to our colleagues and to our human family. We invite you to comment and respond and to include the theme of Peaceable Community in your work and vision. We urge you to carry our hope and concern especially to the faculty of your schools of social work, public policy and human service.

From our experience with those who suffer most and have least, we must learn and discover together, the way to a just and non-violent world.


Peace be with you and in your home,
Peace be with you and with all whom you serve,
Peace be with you and through you,
May peace be in our world.

Comments should go the spirituality home page at:
www.spirituality-and-social-work.net

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Copyright for the I.U.C. Journal of Social Work Theory and Practice is owned by the Social Work Program, Department of Social Relations and Services, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. One copy may be made (printed) for personal use; teachers may make multiple copies for student use if the copies are made available to students without charge. Permission must be secured from the editors for sale of any copies of articles or for any commercial use of the material published in the Journal.

2001 Copyright BSU/IUC Journal of Social Work Theory & Practice