NASW News


U.N. Social Work Day Draws Hundreds


— Lyn Stoesen, News Staff

Helen Rehr, Elaine Congress, Laura Taylor, Walter Kalman, Doreta Richards, Carolyn Polowy, Gary Bailey, and Elvira Craig de Silva The 25th Annual Social Work Day at the United Nations, taking the theme "A Celebration of Human Rights and Social Work," drew hundreds of participants to the U.N.'s New York City headquarters on March 31.

Clockwise from left: Helen Rehr, Elaine Congress, Laura Taylor, Walter Kalman, Doreta Richards, Carolyn Polowy, Gary Bailey, and Elvira Craig de Silva attend Social Work Day at the U.N. (Photo: Ruben Wollcott)

The program included comments from NASW members Janice Wood Wetzel, Michael Cronin and Helen R. Hamlin as well as event co-chair Robin Mama, who gave an introduction to the program.

NASW President Elvira Craig de Silva also attended the program, as did Board of Directors member Elaine Congress; former NASW President Gary Bailey; Acting Director of the Division for Practice, Human Rights and International Affairs Luisa Lopez; Senior Governance Associate Doreta Richards; General Counsel Carolyn Polowy; and Senior Policy Adviser Leticia Diaz.

Social Work Day at the United Nations is presented by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). Collaborating organizations for the event were NASW and its New York City, New York State and New Jersey chapters; the Canadian Association of Social Workers; the Council on Social Work Education; and the Society of Social Work Leadership in Health Care. Additionally, more than 20 schools and departments of social work participated as supporting organizations.

The program opened with welcoming comments from David Jones, president of IFSW, and Abye Tasse, president of IASSW. Janice Wood Wetzel and Michael Cronin spoke on "A Social Work Legacy at the U.N."

The program also included greetings and comments from Craig Mokiber, deputy secretary of the United Nations' Office of the High Commission on Human Rights, who spoke about human rights and the importance of social work and civil society involvement.

"This event is always a high point, drawing social workers and social work students from across the United States, Canada and as far as the United Kingdom and Ethiopia," Lopez said. "Every year, interest in and attention to the event increases. It is a reaffirmation of social work's commitment to many principles and objectives held in common with the United Nations."

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