NASW Meets U.N. Peacebuilding Officer

— Lyn Stoesen, News Staff


NASW representatives recently met with Ihab Moustafa of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office to discuss the work of the U.N.'s Peacebuilding Commission and how social workers can support and become involved with its efforts.

NASW Acting Director of the Division for Practice, Human Rights and International Affairs Luisa Lopez and Senior Policy Adviser Leticia Diaz met with Moustafa in late March.

The Peacebuilding Commission is an intergovernmental advisory body of the United Nations established in 2006. It supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict and is currently working to support reconstruction and good governance in Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Burundi.

NASW has supported the post-conflict reconstruction activities of the Peacebuilding Commission since it was first created by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan in his report "In Larger Freedom: Toward Security, Development, and Human Rights for All," Diaz explained.

During the meeting, Diaz and Lopez discussed the ways that NASW and social workers in other countries might assist in the work of the commission. They provided Moustafa with information and contacts for social workers in the countries that the commission is working with.

Diaz has served as chair of the Washington, D.C., Council of Organizations of UNA-USA., a coalition of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations created to encourage strong U.S. leadership in the U.N. Through that relationship, NASW was invited to meet with the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office.

"Moustafa and the commission are very interested in connecting with us and in engaging social workers in their mission," Diaz said. "They want social workers to understand the work they are doing and to become involved in supporting their rebuilding efforts. They recognize what we can offer as a profession.

"The most hopeful time for any nation is when it is coming together and rebuilding," Diaz said. "Of all the work the United Nations does, this is one of the most hopeful tasks — trying to get a country back to health."