York hosts international symposium on social work and globalization

On Friday, July 13, renowned social-work researchers from York and around the globe will speak at an international symposium at the Keele campus on neo-liberal – free market – globalization and social-work education in marginalized and developed communities.

Hosted by York’s School of Social Work, the symposium is presented in conjunction with the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Affairs Committee of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW).

The event is open to the York community and takes place at the Kinsmen Building, room K1007, from 9am to 4pm.

It will highlight the University’s international interdisciplinary research in the field, focusing on topics such as political and domestic violence, the promotion of human rights for GLBT (gay/lesbian/bi and transgender) communities, sustainable community development and social mobilization.

"York’s School of Social Work is committed to the advancement of social justice through social work theory, policy and practice," says Rhonda Lenton (left), dean of York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. "The school’s leadership in community-university partnerships that build societal capacity is an important contribution to this meeting and to social-work education generally."

Though much of the research being presented at the symposium is geographically or community specific, the findings address challenges all of Canada faces as a multicultural and multiethnic country. The research also addresses universal social-work issues and offers solutions that could be applied at local and global levels.  

"The symposium is an excellent way for researchers locally and internationally to share their projects with fellow scholars and to engage the community in a dialogue about social transformation and change," said Narda Razack (right), graduate program director for York’s School of Social Work, member of the IASSW board and Chair of the IASSW task force on international exchanges and research. "The findings of their studies and the work we are doing here at the school have implications for not only Canada, but communities worldwide. This is a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and to explore social-work practice in the context of changing global trends and needs."

Atkinson’s Uzo Anucha (left) and IASSW president Abye Tasse will discuss educational transformation. Atkinson’s Nick Mulé will explore global gender and sexual diversity, addressing cultural implications of the promotion of human rights for mainstream gender and sexually diverse populations.

Also featured at the symposium are well-known researchers from Kenya, Switzerland, Israel, Japan and across Canada, including:

  • Gidraph Wairire, lecturer and social-work program coordinator from the University of Nairobi, will discuss the growing trend of aggressive promotion of academic programs in Third World nations by Western universities. He will examine how such promotion has influenced many Kenyan universities to develop programs that embrace global academic demands in diverse ways, and the effect it has had on manpower across all disciplines, including social work.
  • Purnima George, professor of social work at Ryerson University, will examine the impact of globalization on work with marginalized communities in India. She will focus on the challenges of organizing around issues of social justice and equity, and the obstacles experienced by community practitioners in light of globalization.
  • Switzerland-based sociologist Isidor Wallimann will discuss strategies for building social-economy communities. His focus will be on democratic networking and organization building, using available local resources such as human, social and economic capital.
  • Alean Al-Krenawi, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, will explore gender differences in relation to exposure to domestic violence, political violence, family relations and psychological symptomology in Palestinian adolescents.
  • Rajendran Muthu, a professor at Iwate Prefectural University in Japan, will discuss the role of Japanese social work in social mobilization, social movements and network building in the context of neo-liberal globalization.

Other researchers presenting include: Linda Kreitzer, University of Calgary; Suzanne Dudziak, St. Thomas University, NB; and Shirley Cox, Brigham Young University, Utah.

For more information on the symposium or researchers, contact Narda Razack at nrazack@yorku.ca. To RSVP, e-mail leasher@yorku.ca