Social work at the University of Essex is going global, following the appointment of Founding Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Social Work, Vasilios Ioakimidis, who is based primarily at their Southend Campus.
This new post has been developed as part of the University's strategic aim to expand the Centre for Social Work with the longer term aim of becoming a world-leading centre of innovative social work research and educational practice.
Professor Ioakimidis (pictured) said: “At the Centre for Social Work we consider social work as a global profession and not a narrow technical activity. We believe that social workers need to deal with the local impact of complex global issues such as social inequality, poverty, natural disasters and migration. Therefore, an inclusive and holistic social work curriculum should fully embrace the concepts of internationalisation and internationalism.”
He added: “A unique feature of our Centre will be its proactive internationalisation; including active participation in global social work organisations, shaping global social work debates and we plan to arrange international placements for our students.”
Professor Ioakimidis joins the University from Durham University, where he was a senior lecturer. Previously he had held posts at the University of Nicosia-Cyprus, Zuyd University in the Netherlands, Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool University, where he completed his PhD.
His research focusses on two areas, social work practice in times of armed conflict, historical and current, and grassroots welfare movements in the context of extraordinary financial and political crisis.
He has been involved in the creation of the Social Services work in the context of Conflict network which helped orchestrate the first meeting of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot social workers in the UN neutral zone in Cyprus.
He is also Vice President of the European Association of Schools of Social Work and is collaborating with social work educators internationally towards the re-definition of and re-engagement with the meaning of internationalism among and beyond the social work community.
Professor Ioakimidis is also a founding member and member of the steering committee of the Social Work Action Network, which brings together social work practitioners, service users, academics and students united in their commitment to promote social justice and defend welfare rights.
He edits the International Social Work Journal and, since its formation, has been on the editorial board of the Critical and Radical Social Work Journal which aims to give voice to the most politically progressive voices in social work.