International Janusz Korczak Conference

Het Geuzenhuis - Ghent
Janusz Korczak Janusz Korczak
On Saturday 14th December the Janusz Korczak Vlaanderen Association will organise the yearly International Janusz Korczak Conference. This conference is dedicated to the ideals of the polish pedagogue and doctor of jewish origine, Janusz Korczak. The aim of the conference is to look how Korczak's ideas are still relevant today and how they can be applied in our relations with socially vulnerable children and adults. There is a special focus on children in difficult living circumstances. The conference will be held in English in Geuzenhuis in Ghent.

>>> Read more about Janusz Korczak
>>> See the full programme (at the bottom of this page you will find the programme in PDF)
>>> Practical information

Janusz Korczak
Janusz Korczak – whose real name was Henryk Goldszmit – was an eminent doctor, pedagogue, publicist, writer and social activist born in Warsaw in 1878 (or 1879) into a Polish-Jewish family.
He studied medicine in Poland and completed his studies in Switzerland, Germany, France and England. He played an active part in the social initiatives put in place in Warsaw, in particular in associations such as the Orphans’ Aid Society, the Summer Camp Society or the Warsaw Hygiene Society.
Very early, he decided to dedicate his life to children and created his own pedagogical approach which consisted of eliminating all forms of violence towards children, whether they be of a physical, verbal or hierarchical nature, creating inter-generational interaction and applying the unreserved right of the child to respect. Indeed, Janusz Korczak claimed that children must be treated like adults, taking the view that a child knows his own needs, wants and emotions and has the right to have his own opinion and his own possessions.
In 1912, Janusz Korczak became the director of The Orphans’ Home (Dom Sierot) which was launching its activities in Warsaw that year. He set up a children parliament there which declared laws, as well as a court to resolve conflicts.  All of the inhabitants of the orphanage, including the teaching team, were subject to the same rules decreed by these institutions. Moreover, a newspaper produced by the children helped them to relate their day-to-day lives in the residence and use the paper as a platform to express their opinions. Janusz Korczak thus created a Democratic Children’s Republic which guaranteed children’s rights and set out their obligations towards the community.
During the Second World War, the Orphans’ Home was transferred to the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz Korczak’s main concern was the survival of his residents. Deported with the children he refused to leave, he died with his protégés on 6 September 1942 in a Nazi death camp in Treblinka.
Janusz Korczak is viewed as the precursor to a completely unprecedented movement in contemporary pedagogy. Without a shadow of a doubt, his work influenced the thinking which led to the signing of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ (1959) and the ‘International Convention on the Rights of the Child’ adopted by the UN in 1989. He also helped create the job of a spokesperson for children’s rights in several countries in the world.  

2012 has been declared JANUSZ KORCZAK YEAR by the Polish parliament with a view to marking the 70th anniversary of the death of the pedagogue, as well as the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Orphans’ Home. In that framework we organised the Janusz Korczak Award which was won by Opre Roma.

Some works by Janusz Korczak:
How to love a child
Pedagogical moments
The Child’s Right to Respect
King Matt the First and King Matt on the Desert Island
Kaytek the Magician

08:30 - 09:00 Registration
09:00 - 09:15 Opening word and presentation of the Janusz Korczak Vlaanderen
association by Romain Hulpia (Chairman Janusz Korczak Vlaanderen)
09:15 - 10:00 Bruno Vanobbergen (Children's Rights Commissioner, key-note)
10:00 - 10:30  Vic De Donder (Panathlon)
Panathlon is an international association in the field of ethics and sports. Mr. De Donder will present the practice of Panathlon locally and internationally, and will talk about the rights for children in sports that were carried out by the organization.
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 11:30  Franky D’Oosterlinck (UGent)
Mr. D’Oosterlinck is professor at the University of Ghent and director of the Observation and Treatmentcenter ‘Nieuwe Vaart’ (Ghent), aimed at helping children with emotional- and behavioral disorders. He will talk about children’s rights from the viewpoint of children with a disability.
11:30 - 12:00 Claudia Claes (Hogent)
Ms. Claes is professor at the academy of Ghent and occupied with the concept of ‘Quality of life’. She will talk about what the discourse on quality of life means in the context of assisting people with a disability.
12:00 - 12:15  Summary of morning speeches: Annabel Vandezande
12:15 - 13:45  Lunch Break and poster-presentation Korczak colleagues
13:45 - 14:15  Homage to Polish Composers: Violin and piano concert with music
dedicated to Korczak
by Natalia Brzewska (violin) and Geoffrey Beadle (piano)
14:15 - 14:45  Maya Wuytack
Ms. Wuytack is a versatile artist that is active in dance, theater, performance and poetry. She will talk about a dance production made by a professional dancer and a dancer with a mental disability.
14:45 - 15:15 Ankie Vandekerckhove (VBJK)
Having been the first children’s right commissioner in Belgium, Ms.
Vandekerckhove now partly works as an independent consultant on
children’s rights and partly for the Center for innovation in the Early
Years (Ghent). She will talk about the local and international projects
on the social function of early childhood education and care she is currently working on.
15:15 - 15:30  Coffee break
15:30 - 16:00 Elias Hemelsoet (Opre Roma)
Elias Hemelsoet recently finished his research on Roma in Belgium and
is vice-president of Opre Roma – an association that organizes
informative, cultural and sportive activities for and by Roma and not-
Roma. He will talk about the way Opre Roma tries to integrate Roma
children in Ghent.
16:00 - 16:15  Summary of afternoon speeches
16:15 - 16:30  Final word: Annabel Vandezande
16:30 - 17:00 Musical performance by Opre Roma

Practical information
>>> Het Geuzenhuis (Kantienberg 9, 9000 Ghent) - see map
>>> Saturday 14 December from 08:30 until 17:00
>>> €25 / €15 (students) - lunch included in this amount / write an email to korczak.vlaanderen@gmail.com to subscribe and ask for the payment details

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