Walter Lorenz – Companion and Point of Orientation in Intercultural Social Work

Dimiter Martin Hoffmann

Abstract

First meeting, common interests and ways together

The European Centre for Social Welfare, Training and Research situated in Vienna, was our first meeting place. W. Lorenz was interested in the international comparison of the different concepts and perspectives of social welfare problems in the European countries and the different developments in the training of social professions in Europe.

The challenge of intercultural, antiracist social work in the context of Erasmus-Intensive Seminars

To organize an intensive seminar with the aim to train students and colleagues for intercultural and antiracist competence in social professions, we formed an European network of European universities and schools of s.w. in Vienna (VIENNET), with the support of ECCE (European Centre of Community Education) in Koblenz.

“The group discovered that working on these issues in an international context raises issues of ‘difference’ with renewed acuteness”(cit. W. Lorenz).

We learned to cope with a variety of differences: biographical, language, theoretical and institutional backgrounds and discourse traditions.

A Venue for an Intensive Seminar

In choosing a venue for an Intensive Seminar we were relatively free. We locked for a place, “one dream about”, to support in the best way our seminar aims, to promote a base built on knowledge, skills and values particularly in the area of inner/outer borders, disadvantage, ignorance, minorities, majorities, vulnerable groups, racism and xenophobia. In a small village in Burgenland (Austria), very close to the Hungarian border, we thought to have found it.

Future Prospect

Are we only representatives of our background institutions or did we act and exposed ourselves as persons with a very specific biography and training experience. Can we sustain this created network, as a network of experts and friends in the field of intercultural, antiracist social work? This question is still open.


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