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Encounters in a Global World
Threats and opportunities
for social workers and human service professionals


Dear Members and Friends of CIF International,

We would like to invite you to a conference in Turkey; a country where continents meet,  where you discover civilizations built on one another if you dig in the earth, where cultures dating back centuries encounters.

Encounters influence our lives significantly from birth to the end of life. At the moment we are born, we have our first encounter with our mother and continue to have other encounters with our family members, friends and teachers. Then, we encounter new colleagues in professional lives, new people and new cultures as the circle enlarges in the course of our social lives.

We, as social workers and related professions encounter applicants, colleagues and colleagues from other countries through CIF International. The basic reason for social work professions to exist is to deal with all the tension and problems created by these encounters and help people out to overcome these challenges.

Each encounter opens new windows into our lives. We sail to new worlds which we do not know they exist by that time and steer ourselves into new directions. However, encounters are not limited only to our personal worlds. In a more globalized world, encounters are varied and differs significantly  as we meet people from all over the world through internet in virtual platforms, with people in free movement zones. Borders are lost, walls collapse, we learn the difference between war and peace, disaster and calm.

Encounters result in agreeable and positive outcomes as well as conflicts. In today’s world, we see more stress and conflict taking place among individuals, groups or nations. There are negative situations arising from differences (like men and women, children and parents, different communities, different religions etc.) that coexist in the same place. Meeting others who are different often brings out disagreement, rejection, exclusion and alienation instead of recognition,  acceptance, integration and reconciliation. While articulation results in knowing and accepting “the other” and reconciliation creates balance and civil environment, “state of conflicts” otherwise lead to perpetuate identity crises between individuals, groups and nations.

We live in a global era where migrations as new encounters have been increasingly going on and most visible with its national or international dimensions. However, their effects on sub-national processes are usually invisible to observe clearly and yet experienced by families, immigrants and disadvantaged people deeply.

Migration is a horizontal dimension of movements and encounters. Turkey is also a country where  intensive domestic and external migration are being observed.  Whether it is intensive or not, migration is  a reality for every part of the world.

When the rate of horizontal movement increases, in other words, when migration increase encounters, a rise in conflicts and social problems come into sight. The fundemantal problems created by global encounters are xenophobia, racism, exclusion, ostracism, discrimination, alienation and increased violence. Hence, the need for social services’ mediating role by individuals, immigrant families, inhabitants and also by governments increses. This demand for social services is a rising in all countries, because domestic and external migration become widespread social facts.

Globalization and new encounters coexist in the same society, in the same culture. “Conflicting dualities” (we and the others) continue to coexist. Therefore, it is still crucial to learn to live with differences, to coexist, to meet with the different one, accept the others, develop social solidarity and conflict resolution skills.

Social work and related professions are at the center of this new world of conflicts.  They continously confront problems of immigrants, children living and working on the street, the poor, street and school gangs, drug addicts, victims of internet abuse and hate crimes. Today, it is more important and critical than ever that social work professionals cooperate with their peers in global level, share their experiences and use their knowledge and skills in response to these new challenges and to create new solutions to these problems.

It is known that encounters can sometimes be considered as threats and opportunity for growth at other times.  From this point of view, we invite you as social professionals who are confronting with these problems in different parts of the world, to Turkey to discuss encounters and think about how we can turn these challenges into opportunities for a better World. We hope to provide a platform for you to participate in discussion groups, share your experiences and form new solutions to combat these situations.

We hope you will contribute to the issues raised in this conference.

We invite you to submit a presentation or lead a workshop during the conference.

You can fill in the form for conference presentations and workshops at http://conference.cifturkey.org/asform.doc and send it to our academic committee by March 31st 2013 academic@cifturkey.org.

We will be happy to accept contributions of CIF members and friends around the world.

We are looking forward to hearing from you…

Conference Organization Committee