Keynote Speakers

Dr. Vasilios Ioakimidis

The Forum Staff Pix 12-03-19

Vasilios Ioakimidis, Ph.D., is Founding Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Social Work at the University of Essex. In the past, Professor Ioakimidis has worked at Durham University, the University of Nicosia, Zuyd University and Liverpool University. He is currently co-Editor in Chief of the British Journal of Social Work (Oxford University Press) and has previously been the Editor-in-Chief of the International Social Work journal (Sage Publishing).

Professor Ioakimidis is also Commissioner for Education at the International Federation of Social Workers, where he is collaborating with social work educators and practitioners internationally towards the re-definition of and re-engagement with the meaning of “internationalism” among and beyond the social work community. He is also 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.

Professor Iaokimidis’ research revolves around the broad theme of Social Work in Extremis, an exploration of social work practice in the context of unpredictable and extraordinary political, social, economic and environmental change. Some of the more specific areas of research interest he covers are social work practice in times of conflict (historical and current) and grassroots welfare movements in the context of extraordinary financial and political crisis.

Dr. Anna Rurka


Anna Rurka, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer in Education Science at the University Paris Nanterre in the family education and family social work research team (Center of Research Education and Training EA 1589). Dr. Rurka is Past President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. In 2003, Dr. Rurka joined EUROCEF (European Committee for Home-based Priority Action for the Child and the Family), an INGO set up in 1998 and granted participatory status with the Council of Europe in 2003. She very quickly became its Chair, and has been involved in the Conference of INGOs’ activities concerning children’s rights since 2005. In January 2015, she was elected President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. She combines her commitments at the Conference of INGOs with her academic work in France, Poland and other European countries.

Her professional and social engagement activities focus on participation in assessing measures for people receiving social work support, access to rights by vulnerable groups, systemic and institutional analysis of the power relations in public policies. Dr. Rurka’s scientific interests are social work practices based on human rights approach, civil participation in democratic and social changes, and individual and collective social engagement.