Social Workers Across Nations

NASW initiated the Social Workers Across Nations (SWAN) to provide a mechanism for social workers to offer their expertise and skills to serve humanitarian needs within the international community on a voluntary basis and to develop collaborative linkages with other countries around the world.

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International Social Work Conferences and Events

NASW sponsors, coordinates, and participates in international conferences on social work:

  • World Social Work Day at the United Nations – NASW continues to support Social Work Day at the United Nations, both with a financial contribution
    and the attendance of several NASW leaders and staff.
  • Joint World Conference of Social Work and Social Development- NASW participated most recently in Seoul, Korea (June 2016), Melbourne, Australia (July 2014), Stockholm, Sweden (July 2012) and Hong Kong (June 2010).
  • Strengthening the Social Welfare Workforce in Africa: Investing in those who care for children – NASW, in collaboration with USAID and the PEPFAR Orphans and Vulnerable Children Technical Working Group and other key stakeholders, convened a conference focusing on strategies to strengthen the social welfare workforce in Africa with the aim of improving the well-being and welfare of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS (November 2010). Read the conference report here.
  • UNAIDS Forum Series – NASW moderated Forum for members of U.S. Congress on HIV, Human Rights, and Men Who Have Sex with Men (2009).
  • Best Practices of Psychosocial Oncology Summit in Hungary– NASW convened and coordinated a psychosocial oncology summit in Hungary, funded by Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to address cancer care in the region (2008).
International Consultancies

NASW staff provide consultancy through NGOs and associations of social workers:

  • Tanzania* – Provided input at strategic planning meetings of the Tanzania Social Workers Association (TASWO) (2010, 2011, 2012) and collaborated on efforts to strengthen the organizational capacity of TASWO in uniting, promoting and regulating social workers addressing HIV/AIDS and other pertinent social work practice issues (ongoing) via American International Health Alliance (AIHA).
  • Ethiopia – Carried out needs assessment focusing on the social work workforce, volunteers, and psychosocial care providers (2010); identified and developed training and exchange recommendations (ongoing) via Physicians for Peace.
  • Rwanda and Uganda – Provided a multi-site needs assessment of psychosocial care with country-level programs and provided proposals for workforce capacity building (2008) via Physicians for Peace.
Professional Exchanges with Social Work Associations

NASW hosts professional social workers from other countries for time limited exchanges. The purpose of such exchanges is to provide a close up view of the various mechanisms involved in supporting and sustaining a professional social work workforce in the U.S.

  • Tanzania Social Workers Association* (TASWO) – NASW developed a work plan with TASWO to
    support exchange visits between the two organizations. A delegation from TASWO visited NASW in November
    2011. NASW staff visited Tanzania in March 2012 in order to conduct regional training for TASWO leaders. A workplan has been developed to continue the exchanges for 2012-2013.
  • Korea Association of Social Workers (KASW) – The Korea Association of Social Workers and NASW partnered to place a KASW staff member in Washington, DC for ten months to learn how U.S. social workers are supported by their national association.
  • China Delegations – NASW hosted several delegations of leaders from China in 2017, 2016, 2012 and 2011 Including the Chinese Association of Social Workers, the only national social work association approved by the Chinese government.. The first 
    was a delegation from the Ministry of Civil Affairs 
    of the People’s Republic of China and the second was coordinated through the U.S. Department of State, and was also representative of the People’s Republic of China. NASW staff and leaders provided information on social work in the United States, including standards for practice, educational, licensure, and other professional information and learned about social work in China.
International Partnerships
  • Foundations for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa – NASW is a partner with the Foundation for Hospices in Sub Saharan Africa (FHSSA). NASW Social Work Pioneer® Dr. Bernice Harper was the founding President of this organization, and NASW successfully raised funds in order to endow a scholarship in her name for social workers who address the psychosocial needs of the seriously ill in Africa.
  • Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) – NASW and CASW have worked together cooperatively in an effort to strengthen the profession in the North America Region. The framework of the collaboration continues to operate under a Memorandum of Understanding which was re-signed in July 2012.
International Delegations

The NASW Executive Director leads annual delegations of social workers to international destinations. These delegations have the opportunity to meet with social work colleagues in other countries and visit local social welfare projects. Trips have included:

*This project was made possible through the generous support of the American people with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID Tanzania. Activities are carried out through a partnership between the Tanzania Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Social Workers in the US, managed by the American International Health Alliance’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center, which is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
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