Deutscher Berufsverband für Soziale Arbeit e.V.

International Voices of Social Workers

- DBSH meets:

Stand März 2020

Liebe Kollegen_innen,

der Internationale Tag der Sozialen Arbeit (ITSA) ist mittlerweile zu einem weltweiten Event herangewachsen. In vielen Ländern finden zahlreiche und äußerst diverse Veranstaltungen statt, um der Sozialen Arbeit und der wertvollen Arbeit der Fachkräfte eine besondere Wertschätzung gegenüber zubringen und einen aufrichtigen Dank auszusprechen.

Im Fokus des diesjährigen ITSA steht das Motto „Für die Bedeutung menschlicher Beziehungen eintreten“.

Wir, die bundesweite Arbeitsgruppe ITSA 2020, möchten anlässlich des Mottos unteranderem die internationalen Beziehungen zwischen den internationalen Gewerkschaftsmitgliedern hervorheben. Daher haben wir Gewerkschafts-mitglieder aus unterschiedlichen Ländern zu ihrer individuellen Haltung zum ITSA und dem diesjährigen Motto befragt. Für die Einheitlichkeit haben wir unsere Fragen auf Englisch verfasst, um ebenfalls die Antworten in Englisch zu erhalten. 

Es liegt uns sehr am Herzen die internationale Vernetzung zwischen Fachkräften voranzubringen, um Wissen und Erfahrungen teilen zu können und die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung sowie Anerkennung der Sozialen Arbeit voranzu-bringen!

Wir wünschen euch viel Spaß beim Lesen und freuen uns auf Rückmeldungen von euch!

Eure AG ITSA 2020 (itsa2020(at)junger-dbsh(dot)de)

Pascal Rudin

Representative of IFSW to the United Nations

How do you relate with the WSWD?

In my role as a representative of IFSW to the United Nations, I was and continue to be involved in preparations for this important event each year

What does "Promoting human relationships" mean to you?

I understand the quality of human relationships as constitutive of a relational concept of human dignity. As such, I consider the promotion of human relationships as a core value of social work.

How will you spend the WSWD 2020?

Well, I intended to spend it at the United Nations in Geneva, but we had to postpone this event due to the current situation in the face of Covid-19 virus.

What message do you want to send to your international fellow Social Workers?

Trough promoting human relationships, we, the social workers around the globe, are determined to continue facilitating positive social change and will be playing an even more important role in society than we currently do.

Ruth Stark

Immidiate Past President IFSW

How do you relate with the WSWD?

WSWD has grown from a small seed of an idea in 10 years to the largest social movement in the world, joined by over three million social workers, people with whom we work, politicians, policy makers, service providers, media and civil society. It has the potential to be the prime mover of change in all our countries towards building and supporting inclusive sustainable communities for us all to enjoy. 

What does "Promoting human relationships" mean to you?

The making and sustaining of human relationships are at the heart of social work. The emotional energy we all engage in in our relationships is very powerful. When it works well it is empowering and positive; when there is fear and anger it diminishes the capacity of each of us to face the challenges of life. It is through the building of trust with each other that we can together traverse the chasms of disillusionment of fear and despair that we often meet in our daily lives as citizens and social workers. We work with people often through their deepest troughs of trauma and disaster, caused by either or both human design or failure or through the ravages of nature. We do this by building on the strengths of relationships that we build in re-establishing trust between people. We must also share in the pleasure of successful change; this is part of the sustaining process that helps us build together the capacity of our communities in support for each other. You can read more in  (free download)

How will you spend the WSWD 2020?

I will be in Falkirk, Scotland, at a conference organised by my professional association SASW. We will be looking at what we can learn from our international colleagues. During the day I will also link with colleagues and communities in Sierra Leone ( and Uganda (

The next day I will take a workshop at Stirling University about international social work, including the two communities in Uganda and Sierra Leone. The work they undertake is with individuals and families living in poverty, affected by climatic disaster and post war reunification of children, their families and their communities. It will be a journey from the micro to the macro.

What message do you want to send to your international fellow Social Workers?

We can all improve our practice by listening carefully to experts through experience and hearing what they know works. We then can work out what we can abandon from our practice - the things that they know do not work! They are the ultimate judges of our work.

Alois Pölzl

Chair of the Austrian Association of Social Work (obds)

How do you relate with the WSWD?

The WSWD is an important date for our profession – and its fantastic, that we celebrate it all over the world every year.

What does "Promoting human relationships" mean to you?

Human Relations are the focus in Social Work practice. When we are talking about social change and social cohesion, we aim at the wellbeing of individuals and communities. Relations between individuals and communities must be strengthened in a self-centred world. Social Work brings together individuals, groups and communities, supports cooperation and collaboration, and establishes methods of conflict solutions. This year the WSWD puts the finger on these qualities of our work.

How will you spend the WSWD 2020?

I am sorry, this year I will not be able to attend a specific event. Nevertheless, I will do my best to spread the news on our obds-webpage and on Social Media, where colleagues from Carinthia and Vorarlberg will present their activities.

What message do you want to send to your international fellow Social Workers?

Dear colleagues, let us try to do our best these days, when refugees knock on our door in Europe, when social cohesion is under pressure and nationalism, racism and fundamentalism seem to be growing. Social Workers are always working towards social justice and human rights for everyone – that’s not simple but necessary.

Jochen Prusa

Director of the Austrian Association of Social Work

How do you relate with the WSWD?

In 2015 the OBDS Carinthia (Professional Association for Social Work in Austria/Carinthia) started to organise an event within the global world social work day movement. The organisation bases on established cooperation with different institutions of Social Work in Carinthia like the Carinthian University of Applied Scienes (CUAS), the University of Klagenfurt, the Diakonie de La Tour and others. Since then we invite our fellow colleagues and their institutions to celebrate and promote social work either in the capital of Carinthia, Klagenfurt or in Feldkirchen which can be seen as an important centre for social work education in Carinthia. In 2016 we started to complement the informational event with a “political action” like marching through the streets to reach as many people as possible and to spread the message of Social Work. Another aspect which we are really proud of is our so called “Social Work Soup” which is served to participants every year.

What does „Promoting human relationships“mean to you?

Every profession has its own specific content. For example, a doctor deals with various correlations within the human body. A carpenter works with different kind of wood and uses them to produce furniture and so on. In the case of Social Work, it is more difficult to define its subject matter. Human relationships and their effects on each individual therefore can be stated as Social works content. That is what makes this WSWD theme essential for the profession on a global level.

How will you spend the WSWD 2020?

In 2020 we well be celebrating WSWD again in Klagenfurt. There will be music, the “Social Work Soup”, possibilities to get information about the social landscape in Carinthia and again some political action although it won’t be a march this time. We are also hoping to get officials within the social landscape of Carinthia to deliver a short statement about their understanding of the importance of our profession. Futhermore we are delighted that the idea of the WSWD is also spread within the curriculum of the CUAS due to a professional event on March 16th, coordinated and set up by Social Work students.

What message do you want to send to your international felow Social Workers?

This message can be summed up very easily: KEEP GOING!!!!!!

Gulnur Hakimschanova

President of the Kazakh Association of Social Workers people with disabilities and volunteers

How do you relate with the WSWD?

Our non-profit organization "Association of social workers people with disabilities and volunteers" systematically studies and disseminates the published experiences of the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work in the Republic of Kazakhstan, including among decision-makers, social workers and non-governmental organizations. In particular, the Government of Kazakhstan has approved, on the basis of the International Social Work Day, the Day of Social Workers, which is celebrated annually on the last Sunday in October.

What does „Promoting human relationships“mean to you?

For the professional activity of social workers, knowledge and practical skills in the field of communication with clients, colleagues, decision-makers and the ability to mobilise community resources are of particular importance. That is why our organisation attaches great importance to the activities of the training centre, training of social workers and high quality of our publications.

How will you spend the WSWD 2020?

In view of the global epidemiological situation, we dedicate the latest issue of the journal "Social Work-Social Services" published by our organization to educating risk groups, such as the elderly and the disabled, on issues of counselling, care and community work. In this issue we also publish materials to celebrate International Social Workers' Day.

What message do you want to send to your international felow Social Workers?

Members of our organization and social workers of Kazakhstan congratulate our colleagues around the world on our holiday! Our profession is an important task - professional help and care for those who need it in different social situations should have no limits. The exchange of information will strengthen and enrich the knowledge and experience of social organizations in different countries. For this purpose, we express our wishes for the welfare and peace of people, success and satisfaction in your professional activity!

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