Dear Colleagues, This volume of Social Dialogue is published in a very challenging period. The COVID 19 pandemic has spread to 180 countries across the world endangering lives and economic development. Keeping health as a priority for people across the globe, the UN has cancelled both events of WSWD in NY and Geneva, even though a lot of effort had been undertaken in preparation. This decision was welcomed by Social Workers across the world.
Many activities have taken place in the countries not yet affected by the virus, while the WSWD’s celebration has been replaced by videos and other interactive presentations.
In agreement with Lena Dominelli, chair of the Disaster Intervention, Climate Change and Sustainability committee, we have decided to create a specific page on COVID 19 on our website with three different columns: News and updates, Social work teaching and Social work stories. Details of these activities are also included in this edition. We want to share evidences about what social work academics, researchers, students and practitioners have been doing to safeguard health and well-being of the communities during this pandemic. We also want to hear how teaching and learning methodologies have been innovated, using online tools and interactive classrooms etc.. There are lessons to be shared from every country that has been affected by the virus, and IASSW can facilitate their collection so that we can learn from each other.
You all are invited to submit papers and responses in your own language, and if possible, to provide an English translation to widen the readership.
In the last quarter:
- The IASSW Board meeting was held in January in Kuala Lumpur with the support of the APASWE President Hatta Zulkhanian, followed by a very successful seminar on School social work.
- One important outcome of the Tripartite meeting in London with the representatives of the IASSW, ICSW and IFSW is the preparation of a memorandum of understanding to ensure ongoing cooperation among these key groups.
- I was invited to participate to a symposium at the University of the South Pacific in Suva Fiji from the 18th to 20th of February. In collaboration with Social Work Regional Resource Centre of Oceania and the School of Social Science this meeting was organised to bring together social workers, welfare officers, community workers and academics from across Oceania to contribute to models of practice, education and research relevant for the Fijian communities. I presented a keynote speech to discuss the international priorities and issues in social work and how these interfaces with indigenous knowledge. During this symposium, the book “Pacific Social Work: Navigating Practice, Policy and Research”, that has been realized in the context of the Second Resource Center supported by IASSW, was also launched.
- The joint IASSW and IFSW task force on the Global standards for social work education is now in its final draft . Led for IASSW by Dixon Sookraj, this valuable project will be circulated shortly to collect feedback from our members and then circulated for our colleagues and institutions once the feedback had been addressed.
I want to end my notes with two important information.
- Due to the difficult situation related to the COVID19, we have decided to postpone the Rimini IASSW and ICSW conference - Promoting Human Relationship: Bridging the future! (www.swesd2020.org) to 8/ 11 November 2020. The Early bird registration has been postponed to 31st of August.
We have received more that 1400 abstracts and accepted 1100, the key note speakers have sent their abstracts and are available on the website.
Our Association has selected Prof Angie Yuen as the “Eileen Younghusband lecturer” and Prof. Leila Patel as recipient of the “Katherine Kendall award”.
The Rimini conference will be focused on social work education and social policy, so there will be a larger space for our academics to share ideas, experiences and develop networks and platforms to enhance international cooperation.
- The IASSW Elections will be held between April and June, 2020 with results announced at the ONILINE General Assembly to be held on Monday 13th July. For more details please visit our website: iassw-aeits.org
I wish all of you and your loved ones good health and to go through these challenging times while maintaining our supportive engagement towards our communities.