Synnöve Karvinen-Niinikoski is professor of social work at Helsinki University. She has for long been involved both in practice teaching, practice research and doctoral training and supervision in social work. She is member of the IASSW executive board and chairing its Research Committee with an interest in looking for models of bringing research and researcher eduction in social work closer to practice. Her interests lie in professional and organisational learning and knowledge production in social work. Related publications: E. Marthinsen & I. Julkunen eds, co-editors L. Uggerhoj, T. Rasmussen, S. Karvinen-Niinikoski (2012) Practice research in Nordic social work. Knowledge production in transition.
Dr Vasilios Ioakimidis teaches social work at Durham University. He currently acts as the Secretary of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW). Vasilios’ research, teaching and publications have concentrated on the political and ideological character of social work and the impact of neoliberalism on social work theory and practice. He is a founding member and member of the steering committee of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN), a radical social work organization which brings together social work practitioners, service users, academics and students united in their commitment to promote social justice and defend welfare rights.
Vishanthie Sewpaul [PhD] is a Senior Professor at University of KwaZulu Natal. She has been actively involved in several national structures on the cutting edge of policy and standards development in social work in post-apartheid South Africa, and in developing social work in Africa. She served on the Board of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) for several years, and on a consultative advisory committee to a past Minister of Welfare and Population Development (now the Department of Social Development – [DSD]), Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, and on a Joint Management Forum involving the SACSSP, the National DSD and the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions [ASASWEI]. She is the President of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa (ASSWA). She was the President of the first ever non-racial, unified National Association of Social Workers [NASW, SA], and is the immediate past President of the ASASWEI – currently it’s Vice-President. She joined the IASSW Board in 2000 where she chaired the Nominations Committee; the Katherine Kendall Awards Committee and the Global Standards Joint IASSW/IFSW Committee for Social Work Education and Training. She is currently the Co-chair of the Global Social Work Definition committee on IASSW. She chaired the Local Organising Committee [LOC] for the 34th Global Social Work Congress that was held in Durban. She served as the chair of the LOC for the first joint ASASWEI – NASW, SA conference that was held in October 2009 and for the first ASSWA conference that was held in White River in October 2012. She has published widely in the field of social work and she serves in an advisory capacity and reviewer for several journals, and as an external examiner for several universities. She has always maintained active links with practice, the most recent being as coordinator for a community-based project with children and youth living on the streets.
Masoud Kamali is professor of sociology and social work at Mid Sweden University, Sweden. His research areas include social integration, racial discrimination and social movements in Muslim countries. He has been engaged in many national and international research projects concerning ethnic integration and discrimination. He has been the leader of the European project “The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics” (2002-2006) in which eight European countries participated and investigated institutional and structural discrimination in Europe. Among his publications related to the project is “Racial Discrimination: Institutional Patterns and Politics” (Routledge, 2008). He was also appointed as the head of the Swedish “Governmental inquiry into Integration, structural discrimination and power” (2004-2006). The investigation resulted in 13 reports concerning structural discrimination in Sweden. Besides many publications in the area of integration and discrimination, he has published many books and articles related to his other area of research, namely social movements in Muslim countries. Among such publications are “Multiple Modernities, Islam and Civil Society: The case of Iran and Turkey” (Liverpool University Press, 2006) and “Revolutionary Iran: Civil society and State in the Modernization Process” (Ashgate, 1998).
Timo Toikko is a Principal Lecturer in Social Services at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (and Adjunct Professor in Social Work at the University of Jyväskylä). He received his Ph.D in 2001 and has later authored books on the history of Finnish Social Work, the methodology of research oriented development, and the current development directions of social care services. Over the last ten years, he has been following discussions on service user involvement in Finnish Social Services.
Helga Þórólfsdóttir has many years experience working as a humanitarian aid professional in armed conflicts. She worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia in 1993 and then in Liberia, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tajikistan and Uganda.
Helga is a Rotary Peace Scholar (2003-2005) and as such she earned her MA and M.Phil. degrees in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, UK. Helga has a BSc degree in Social Work from the University of Lund, Sweden.
After her fieldwork in 2001, Helga became the Director of the International Department of the Icelandic Red Cross. Helga left her position at the Red Cross 2008, to work independendly and to undertake PhD studies at the University of Iceland where she focuses on humanitarian interventions.
As a part of her PhD project Helga worked as a Gender Adviser in The Norwegian led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Northern Afghanistan, July 2009 – May 2010 .
Currently Helga is in charge of the Gender and Security Module at the The Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (GEST). This Programme is a joint project between the University of Iceland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It invites women and men from conflict/post-conflict societies for a 3-6 month intensive academic training course on gender equality. Helga also works as independent consultant for Icelands ministry of Foreign Affairs, specializing in humanitarian actions in conflict zones, civil-military cooperation and women, peace and security.
The choice of Venke Aarethun was to sacrifice herself for the civilian population of Palestine, and a life during war, with lack of food, wounded people and children. She worked several periods as a nurse in Shatila in the eighties, when they where under siege. Venke travels to Palestine and Lebanon several times a year. During her close to thirty years of work for the Palestinian cause she has held hundreds of lectures all over Norway and she has brought the Plaestinean cause in media, television, radio and newspapers. Here voice and face is connected to the Palestinians, she used to be called “Palestina Venke” In 2008 the journalist Gunnar Hybertsen from the Norwegian broad casting published the book “Witness” which is a biography of Aarethuns life and her work as an aid worker for the Palestinians. Venke Aarethun works as senior advisor at St Olav University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway. She is a member of the Psychiatric Emergency team and has participated in emergency relief operations. Since 2004 she has worked in suicide prevention work in the health region Central - Norway. Aarethun was leading the psychosocial work with survivors and families of the deceased after the Utøya massacre.
Aila-Leena Matthies is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Jyväskylä. At the second campus of the university, in Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, she is the head of the unit offering Social Work education at BA- and MA-levels in an Adult Education model. It means that students are already in working life and gain their SW qualification as part time students in a distance learning model, which is unique in Finland. She co-coordinates a thematic sub-group of the national doctoral school of social work and social services (SosNet). She is also involved in the INDOSOW. She has coordinated several ERASMUS projects as well as European comparative research projects. Her research interests are addressing citizens’ participation, marginalisation and community-oriented services. Her main theoretical contributions are directed to the eco-social approach and sustainability in social work. She also worked more than ten year as professor of social work at the University of Applied Sciences in Magdeburg, Germany. In 2011 her team organized the NBSW Summer School in Kokkola.