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Radlińska, Helena  

Andrea Schmelz

Helena Radlińska’s (1879–1954) pioneering roles in social work education, political and social activism, and her visionary contribution to theory, practice, and research of social work in Poland and beyond its borders are reviewed. Radlińska’s conceptualization of social work aimed at community development and social change, and addressed the social conditions of individuals as well as their potential. According to Radlińska, social workers assisted in overcoming difficulties by empowering individuals and communities. Hence, education and research in social work needed to build on an interdisciplinary approach and the personal development of students as educators, group facilitators, and community mobilizers. Based on the principle of critical reflection with the self and the world, Radlinka’s social work ouvre outlasted the socialist period and underwent an international renaissance in the postsocialist era. Radlińska has inspired social workers to fight for an inclusive and antipopulist future in Poland’s communities.


Davis, John Eldon  

Catheleen Jordan

John Eldon Davis, MSW, was a National Association of Social Work pioneer. His career spanned four decades and saw a number of “firsts” for social work. His pioneering efforts were in introducing interdisciplinary teams to social work services, training staff and students in various settings, and introducing social work services to in-patient mental health settings, HIV treatment, and international adoptions.


Alexandraki, Litsa  

Rosalie Blair

Litsa Alexandraki (1918–1986) was best known for her work in Greece on matters of child welfare, and the protection of refugees and migrants. She was also elected for three terms as President of the International Federation of Social Workers, a position she held from 1962–1968.


Chamberlain, Edna  

Carolyn Noble

Edna Chamberlain (1921–2005) was appointed the first Professor of Social Work in Australia and was an inspirational figure promoting a more progressive social work and social work education throughout the country. As a role model for women, she rose to educational management and senior policy advocate in a profession dominated by men. Her contribution to academic life and services to the community and as prominent advocate for women’s advancement was honored by receiving a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988 and Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa in 1995.


Bye, Lilian  

Ragnhild Bjørknes and Hanne Synnøve Skedsmo Nilsen

Lilian Bye (1906–1977) was a developer of social work education as an applied academic discipline in Norway. She was the leader of establishing the first academic education for social workers in Norway. She was the principal at the school of social work in Trondheim from 1962, and during her time she established the first master’s in social work degree. Bye was a pioneer in academic education for social workers in Norway. Her work included clinical practices, publications, teaching, and leading social work education.