In English

Global Change

We live in a fantastic time and society. We live longer, are richer and enjoy more education. We enjoy a variety of food, technological products. We are richer than ever. This welfare is directly caused by cheap oil, abundant mass production, worldwide transport and a stable climate.
Economic growth made us happy.
However, on a finite planet, infinite growth is impossible. Every human activity uses resources and commodities. These commodities such as fossil fuels, ores and minerals are running out. Even food is not endlessly available. What will we do if the supply of these raw materials is not insured due to climate change and exhaustion?
Economic growth pollutes our planet, changes the climate, decreases biodiversity and causes (in addition to material prosperity) suffering among people and animals. Excessive consumption and pollution are already now causing problems for communities elsewhere in the world. Further climate change will give future generations fewer development opportunities.

I see that the world, we and our local and regional policy need a large transition. I am worried about the world around me and I believe that our society must make strategic choices that are really in line with the long term. This change is urgent. More and more clearly, I see that 'a better, greenermore social world' is not possible without changing the economic system.

Social justice and ecological sustainability

It is my dream that our society experiences happiness and beauty in 2040 and 2050, just like us today. I want to commit myself to help shaping the strategic choices that our society needs to make to achieve this. Let's build a future that people are entitled to elsewhere and later by:

1. reducing our material and energy use. Now many companies and governments are already using energy more efficiently. But, this is not enough to have a just and sustainable planet by 2050.  A stationary economy at the service of society that meets our current needs and future needs. We have everything to combine high quality of life with a small ecological footprint. "Live simple so that others may simply live". Even though this sounds foreign to the world today, I am advocating to degrow our economy by, for example, a 4-day working week, wealth tax or faze-out sectors such as the military, financial high-tech, cement industry or fossil fuel companies. Only in this way do we give livelihoods to ourselves and our children within 20 and 30 years.

2.increasing our resilience. Let's set up experiments that make our community less vulnerable to crises. Inspired by strategic projects abroad we can shape this transition to a sustainable society ourselves. "What we do by ourselves and together, we do better". So I do not believe in technical solutions for climate problems, but in simply thinking together and working together.

3. giving space to others. Our choices impact the possibilities in other places in the world. Let us be connected, equitable and tolerant and take our responsibility for 'world problems'. Countries in the South have a right to infrastructure, health care and education. Even access to water and food is not self-evident for many people. Everyone can make an equivalent claim to the carrying capacity and environmental use of the earth. "Think global, act local". We need radical tolerance and global solidarity.

What I do?

Learning our way out together

At the Karel de Grote University College, I am a lecturer in the department of 'social work' and I teach subjects about general welfare, health and disability. Since 2012, I am coordinator of international relations. I also teach Sustainability, a course that deals with sustainable development for Erasmus students.
At the Thomas More University College, I teach 'Dealing with Global Challenges' to international students, mainly business and logistics.
My professional expertise is social and ecological sustainability. For a few years I was chairman of the learning network of lecturers 'Orientation of Social Work towards sustainable development'.

In 2012 I was elected to the city council of Lint. Up until today, my political commitment remains limited to the local welfare council (OCMW-raad) and the Special Committee for the Social Services where is decided on the granting of living wages (leefloon). I am not standing for election anymore in Lint.

Between 2005 and 2009, I was a consultant for Zandhoven, Hulshout, Begijnendijk and Retie in developing a Local Social Policy Plan. I want to use this experience to build a strong and generous social policy. Living, working and education are central.

Who am I?

I am passionate about elswhere and later

I became a primary school teacher in 1996. I continued my education at the university where I studied political and social sciences. I am sociologist. I also obtained a master in European Social Policy Analysis. I hold a Postgraduate degree in Management at the Leuven Graduate School of Business Studies and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Finance. I have done research in the fields of: women in vulnerable labor positions, participation of low class people in Community Based Organisations, satisfaction among users of labor counseling services and in elderly care.

I have expertise in the design of e-learning environments. I coordinated many Intensive Programmes, funded by Erasmus. I have been involved in several European projects and partnerships. Until the end of 2019 I was involved in the 'Caring Society' project with the University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I participate in many local projects, learning groups and experiments in Flanders in the field of sustainable development.

Thinking Globally

Teaching Global Challenges

I love to share my PowerPoints in English on Global Challenges and Sustainability. Click on the blue links 'Lesson N:...' to view or download the PowerPoints. Feel free to use the material. 

·         Global Perspectives, Worldviews and Global challenges
·         Knowledge Crisis
o   Limits to Knowledge
o   Limits to Technology
o   Limits to Science
·         Innovation (micro-level)
o   Open innovation
o   Peer-to-peer
o   Social innovation
·         Collaboration (macro-level)
o   Development cooperation
o   Four pillars of development collaboration
o   Context of the donors and the recipient countries
o   Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030
o   Humanitarian aid / emergency relief
·         Experiencing crisis
·         About growth in Europe
·         Unemployment
·         Private debt
·         Public debt
·         Ecological damage
·         Globalization
o   Definitions
o   Relevance
o   Effects
·         Neoliberalism
o   Definition
o   History
o   Effects

·         The position of social work towards neoliberal globalization
·         The 4 I’s from Iain Ferguson: Imperialism, Inequality, Insecurity and Individualism
·         Neoliberal thinking in Social Work
·         Positions towards globalization
·         Globalizing in a different way (alter-globalization)
o   Solidarity
o   Policies of international players
o   Basic income and  ‘Buen Vivir’
·         Experimenting with change
o   ‘Sacred economics’
o   ‘Economics of happiness’
o   LETS
·         (first an exercise on an insight questions about basic income)
·         Commodities
o   Definition and examples
·         Experiencing the commodity Crisis
·         The figures about the commodity crisis
o   Energy and peak oil
o   Metals, minerals and rare earth metals
·         (first an exercise on an application questions about LETS)
·         Food
Peak Fisheries
Crop yield and crop consumption
Relation with energy
·          Conclusion on the commodity Crisis
Relation between all commodities
Meaning of the commodity crisis for society
Lesson 8: a world in transition = answer to the commodity crisis
·         Definition transition
·         Alternatives for fossil energy
·         Alternatives to materials
·         Change in society
·         Role of social work
·         Climate change
·         Bio-diversity-loss
·         Ocean acidification
·         (example of Insight Question)
·         Vulnerability and justice
·         Sustainable development
o   History
o   Definition and political concept
·         The goal
·         The approach
·         (Application question )
·         Population growth
o   Figures of the past
o   Explanation of today’s growth
o   Projections about world population
o   Evolution of future birthrate
o   Problematizing and de-problematizing
·         Ageing
·         Urbanization
·         Conclusion: demographic crisis is no crisis, so no answer needed
·         Main content of Global Challenges
·         Towards a new revolution
·         2016-2030 Sustainable development goals
·         Social Work in transition

Acting Locally

Presentations and participations in projects and activities

Find below my presentations in English. Klick on the links to view or download the PowerPoints. Feel free to use the material. Please link to this website as a source of reference as there are constantly up-dated versions or new presentations available.
Currently there are no guest lectures or presentations on the agenda.
Please scroll fully down to see the topic I can offer on your event.


Degrowth as a response to Global Challenges

24 august 2018: a presentation on the 6th International Degrowth Conference. My contribution was about Thinking in systems: backwards to a sustainable future. I also had and abstract on Local arguments and policy proposals for Degrowth

Placements and assignments, assessment of internships

5 June 2018: a conference on tasks and assignments during the placement in Flanders at the University of Havana. In collaboration with Flacso. 
Signing a collaboration agreement

Caso-staff meeting

12-19 March 2018:  collaboration on an online module for Health & Life Style Programme together with Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town

Doing what works

29 June 2017: a contribution on techniques to improve the effectivity of social work education, on the EASSW-conference in ParisClick here for the PowerPointClick here for the abstract.

Commitment of Social Work in Global Change

28 June 2017: a contribution on the role of social work education in Global Challenges and a discussion to what extend future social workers should be able to act against neoliberal policies, global challenges and promoting inter-generational solidarity, on the EASSW-conference in ParisClick here for the PowerPoint.
 Click here for the abstract.

Building a coherent curriculum

28 juni 2017: a workshop on curriculumdesign and a quality framework for a Social Work educational programme. Click here for the PowerPoint.
Click here for the abstract on the EASSW conference in Paris.

Youth migrants and future 

16 February 2017 a contribution to the international week at the Berner Fachhochschule für Soziale Arbeit on migration in Europ and the future of Youth. Click here for the PowerPoint.

Welfare of children and families in a changing society

16 november 2016 guest college in ZefatIsrael for the Academic College about the importance of a long term thinking and a global awareness to improve welfare in families. As a human rights profession, social werkers do take political positions. Click here for the PowerPoint.

International social work and sustainability

Speech on 'International perspectives and sustainability' in Kalmar for Linnaeus University on 17 September 2015

Children and families in a changing society

Social Work Education in Europe: towards 2025

Presentation in Milan on 1 and 2 July 2015 for the European Association of Schools of Social Work:

Social Work and the economic crisis

On 5 march 2015 presentation for University College Utrecht, a contribution to their ‘International Week on 'Social Work an the economic system'. For the presentation Click here.

Introduction to Wellbeing and Economic Growth

On 24 March 2014 I have an introductory presentation at the 'Intensive Programme' for students in Social Work, business, environmental accounting from Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Sweden and Finland. These students joined an exceptional learning environment on the theme of: ‘Wellbeing and economic growth’, which I coordinated

Where do we go from here? 

On 5 February 2014 introduction and debate about Social Work and Sustainable Development during the international week in Nijmegen.
Pieter Presenting in Nijmegen

Sustainable development and social action

On 18 April 2013 I presented on the Ensact-conference in Istanbul an abstract titled: "Social Work tackling Global Challenges". In this link you find the abstract on the presentationClick here for the presentation.

Developing Entrepreneurship in Social Work Through International Education. Reflections on a European Intensive Programme by Silvia Fargiona, Violeta Gevorgianiene and Pieter Lievens in Social Work Education, Dec 2010, pp. 1-17

Invite Pieter Lievens for guest teaching?

Pieter Lievens is available for guest-teaching. Workshops and presentation around the themes above and the topic below will be given clear and inspiring. His sessions are usually very coherent, interactive and adapted to the specific needs of every group.

His major topics are:

  • Sustainable Development
  • Global Challenges
  • Global Change, Transition and local resilience
  • Ecological crisis
  • Development Cooperation and international relations
  • International perspectives on Social Work
  • Basic Income
  • Buen Vivir
  • LETS
  • alternative economic systems

His secundary topics are:

  • culture, intercultural communication: Hofstede, Lewis, TOPOI, digital storytelling
  • intercultural training
  • theory about diversity, intercultural models and gender
  • cultures: cultural evolutionism, culture clash, cultural relativism, cultural dominance
  • International projects: success factors, "do’s and don’ts"
  • Liberation theology and pedagogics of the suppressed (Paolo Frère)
  • Human rights, social justice and views on humanity
  • Fair Trade and microcredits (Yunus and Grameen Bank)
  • Inequality in the world: socio-economic inequity, North-South relations, health promotion and illiteracy.
Example presentations on these topics available by e-mail.

Pieter also takes care of specific topics on demand like:
  • Access to drinking water and water security/purification
  • E-waste, international legislation and environmental regeneration
  • Global tourism and the carbon credit card vs green seats
  • Hunger in the world, food waste and the pickers movement vs corporate initiatives
  • Plastic islands in oceans and biodegradable packaging
  • Obesity, sweeting of food and direct action
  • Fine dust and local policy
  • The current migration crisis and social work

CV available on demand by e-mail to

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