NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark will lead a People to People Social Work Delegation to Russia in August.
The professional exchange will continue the Social Workers Across Nations, or SWAN, initiative at NASW, promoting greater understanding of the profession among countries.
“Social work is a global profession,” Clark said. “Around the world, social workers have a common core of values, yet social work may be practiced differently in other countries. There are usually similarities in social problems, but the focus of concern can differ within borders and within cultures.”
Russia is the world’s largest country in area with a diverse community that represents 120 ethnic groups. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the people of Russia continue to face challenges while the country restructures its economy.
The delegation will visit Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“This unique opportunity will offer the chance to meet with social work colleagues in Russia, face to face, to discuss common problems, compare research findings and enhance networking between the our countries and social work communities,” Clark said.
Participants from both sides will exchange successful practice techniques, effective intervention strategies and innovative ideas.
Specific areas of interest will depend on delegate interest, but may include HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug treatment services, crime and prisoner re-entry, and aging.
The delegation, which is by invitation only, plans to meet with the Russian Union of Social Workers and Social Pedagogues. NASW has a longstanding relationship with the union and they have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on issues of mutual interest.
NASW and People to People Ambassador Programs have led previous social work delegations to South Africa, Cambodia, China and Egypt.