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21.04.20

"Social work is a human rights profession"

Prof. Dr. Annette Korntheuer is the new holder of the Professorship of Basics and Theories of Social Work at the KU Faculty of Social Work. “For me, social work is a human rights profession that stands for participation. This is why my work also deals with the theoretical foundations of the question on how social inequality arises”, explains Korntheuer.


Photo: Schulte Strathaus/upd

After having completed professional training to become a teacher, Professor Korntheuer initially worked in a special education day care center for mentally handicapped youths. She then studied social pedagogy at the Katholische Stiftungshochschule München and worked in the field of socio-pedagogical counseling for young refugees in Munich. From 2016 to 2019, she worked as local education coordinator in Munich for recently immigrated persons. In addition, Korntheuer also worked in Canada in the field of social work and still maintains close contacts to colleagues in science and practical fields.

Before her appointment to the KU, she was temporary professor of inclusion and disability at the University of Kassel. For her doctoral thesis at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Korntheuer investigated educational participation of young refugees in Munich and Toronto, Canada. Currently, she accompanies a study that was commissioned by the Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in view of the country’s programs for families with migration experience. “Integration must not be reduced to the professional aspect – you have to take into account the human being as a whole. Being an immigration country, Canada had started to deal with equal participation and diversity at a very early stage”, explains Korntheuer. She continues to say that inclusion of diverse groups was implemented far more consistently than here. Especially the contact with different personalities and their needs was of central importance in social work and the field needed fundamental theories, concepts and skills for these principles. “In view of an increasing economization, it is very important to reflect on the ethics of this profession and continuously demonstrate the worth of social work. Therefore, I would like my students to also develop an awareness for the political dimensions of social work.”

Currently, Annette Korntheuer also works on a project that investigates resettlement of refugees with disabilities. This special form of long-term help is aimed at individual refugees who are in special need of protection due to their age, physical condition, gender, personal experiences or legal situation. The United Nations Refugee Agency proposes corresponding persons to the host countries. These persons are then initially accommodated centrally in Germany in the transit camp Friedland in Lower Saxony. Subsequently, they are assigned a new residence. “To date, there has been hardly any research on how the journey and daily life of disabled refugees continues after they leave the camp – for example as regards their access to the care system or financial support”, explains Korntheuer.