Global Summit to Unify Decade’s Agenda

James KellyNASW President James Kelly is on the planning committee.

NASW is a supporting organization for a global summit, the “2010 Joint World Conference of Social Work and Social Development: The Agenda,” taking place in Hong Kong.

NASW President James Kelly and NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark will be among the attendees for the event that will unite social work leaders, advocates and academics from around the world in an effort to draft a global social work agenda for the next decade.

The hosts for the event are the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) of which NASW is a member; the International Association of School of Social Work (IASSW); and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW).

NASW leaders and members have supported all three international organizations, Clark said. “We are looking forward to being involved with this important event,” she said. “The three international organizations plan to work together to help shape global social work priorities for the future. Due to the recent worldwide economic crisis and international political issues, this collaboration is more vital than ever. The conference will help show that social work and social welfare are just as important to countries and communities as economic programs.”

Kelly serves as regional president of North America IFSW. He is also on the planning committee for the Hong Kong conference, which is scheduled to take place June 10-14, 2010.

Kelly noted he has a long professional history with social work in Hong Kong. “I have a close affiliation with the faculty at the University of Hong Kong,” he said. “It will be an exciting time to exchange ideas with our social work colleagues over there.”

The NASW Foundation has been supportive of all three organizations, noted Foundation Director Robert Arnold. “This is a landmark conference because it will be the first time in a number of years that all three international social work and social welfare organizations are meeting together again,” Arnold said. “Many people do not know that the three organizations grew out of the first International Conference of Social Work in Paris in 1928 and followed that by having joint conferences for decades. This conference will reestablish that history of working together.”

In a joint statement issued by the presidents of the IFSW, IASSW and ICSW, the conference will help develop a refined focus for each organization’s social work campaigns.

“We plan to orchestrate a global consultation process involving social workers and social development advocates at all levels and from all countries,” the statement said. The goal is to identify key issues, develop an agenda, enhance social protections and set priorities for the second decade of the 21st century as well as address social crises, the statement said.

NASW Pioneersw Ken and Margery Carpenter have been active members of ICSW and its U.S. Council for years. They have attended numerous ICSW conferences around the world, and have served in various leadership capacities for the organization.

Ken Carpenter said that next year’s event will be special because it will represent a broad social work contingent, with representatives from social work organizations, schools of social work and social welfare agencies.

Margery Carpenter said the meeting will aid in improving the dialogue among international social workers and serve as an effective tool in advancing social welfare policy in places where it is needed most. “It’s been a remarkable experience for Ken and me since, through the ICSW, we’ve developed great friendships and a better understanding of other cultures,” she said.

More than 2,000 social work professionals, academics, practitioners, policy makers and advocates are expected to attend the summit, where the keynote speaker will be Sha Zukang, United Nations under-secretary for economic and social affairs.

Conference themes include:

  • Life course challenges and actualization. The subthemes are child welfare; adolescence and youth development; family and marriage; women and gender issues; active aging and long-term care; and mental health issues.
  • Equity and social inclusion. The subthemes include: education and lifelong learning; employment; poverty eradication and social security; embracing diversity and inclusion; deviance; addiction and gambling; violence, crime and human trafficking.
  • Sustainable environment. The subthemes include: globalization; sustained health and self-management; disaster management; shelter; community development; philanthropy; teaching and more.