Nine College of Social Work students and two faculty traveled to New York to participate in “Social Work Day at the United Nations” in March. The student group included Victoria Venable, Sylvester Lamin, Nicole Klimas, Lexi Potter, Taylor Stewart, Hannah Bonacci, Amanda Poole, Tara Harte, and Laura Smales. They were accompanied by faculty members Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah and Dr. René Olate.
Social Work Day at the United Nations is a forum for social work students, practitioners, and educators to convene at the UN to learn more about the UN, innovative projects and issues related to International Social Work, and the critical role social work plays in the international arena. This event is co-presented by the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Federation of Social Workers. The 28th Annual Social Work Day at the UN, which took place on March 26th, 2012, had the theme “Partnering with the United Nations: The Social Work and Social Development Global Agenda."
Here’s a sampling of what some of the students gained from the experience:
Victoria Venable, PhD Student
The Global Social Work Student Conference (GSWSC) was a great experience. It was made up of really engaging and innovative workshops largely presented by students from all over the country. I appreciated that there were learning opportunties that focused both on domestic and international issues.
Social Work Day at the United Nations was truly an unforgettable as well. I felt extremely blessed to be present for the presentation of the Social Work Global Agenda to the Ethiopian Ambassador, which was an extremely significant event within our profession.
The messages promoted at these events really underscored that change can begin with a small few who are dedicated, focused, and committed to seeing the strengths of others. It is time for global communities to work together. I believe that the Global Agenda has positioned social workers to become part of a driving force that promotes social justice,compassion, and empowerment for people all over our world.
Tara Harte, BSW Student
What I found very interesting in both the workshops I attended was the ingenuity and passion the speakers demonstrated for addressing the local needs of people across the globe and how to meet those needs through programs that focus on sustainability and awareness. In addition, both workshops highlighted traditional and nontraditional ways in which we can use our existing skill-sets to target populations in need, regardless of cultural differences or geographical location.
The UN conference was a wonderful experience as well! Just being in the UN building demystifies where the powerful leaders of this global world work out of. The conference focused of the Global Agenda for Social Work, which was communicated for the first time through UN speakers of a high caliber who came in from all over the world for this event. They focused on “Promoting Social and Economic Equalities; Ensuring the Dignity and Worth of the Person; Promoting Sustainable Communities and Environmentally Sensitive Development; Promoting Wellbeing though Sustainable Human Relationships; and Ensuring an Appropriate Environment for Practice and Education.” The trip was wonderfully planned and very well organized. As well, it was a wonderful opportunity for each of us who attended to get to know one another better.THANK YOU SO MUCH, COLLEGE OF SOCIAL WORK!