Joint Message of the APASWE & IFSW-AP Presidents

Asian Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE)and International Federation of Social Workers – Asia Pacific (IFSW-AP)would like to congratulate the organizers and sponsors of this conference - India Network of Professional Social Workers’ Associations (INPSWA), the Departmentof Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS and Department of Social Work, CHRIST ( Deemed to be University ), Bengaluru.

The theme of this conference is most appropriate – “Social Work Partnerships Towards an Equal Society– Asia Pacific Perspective”. Equality is about ensuring that every individual in a society has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives, talents and capabilities. However, factors beyond their control such as poverty, natural disasters, wars and a host of other problems will not bring about that equality. Living in the 21st century does not give us the joy of seeing civilization in a state of happiness. Part of the unhappiness is rooted in the existence of inequality for many. The richest country in the word also ranks as the most unequal in terms of wealth distribution. Equality seems to be a dream for most, be it at the local, national or international level. A significant percentage of the world’s population are in dire discontent. Their plight is worsened by wars, displacements, economic disparities and inequalities, poverty, “might is right” attitude by wealthy nations in bullying weaker ones- allthese are inter-related.

The profession of social work has a responsibility to be involved in these issues. Whatever happens in one country eventually will have an impact on another country. The social work professioniscalled upon to be proactive in addressing this, and for us this is across the Asia-Pacific region.

Social workers, educators and practitioners alike, face a huge challenge as we strive towards equality in education, opportunity, legal rights,stopping and preventing wars, and challenging unilateralism. Now more so than any other time, the narratives of the “mighty”haveto be challenged in order to provide an environment conducive for the individual to maximize one’s potential.

As social work educators and practitioners, we need to address those issues and incorporate them into ourcurriculum and our practice. While we do not neglect working at the micro level, members of our profession also need to be active politically. The sub-themes provided in this conference will give us the opportunity to deliberate ideas and strategies, and tolisten to the experiences of others in meeting this noble objective of achieving holistic equality.

We strongly encourage social work educators, practitioners and social service providers across our culturally and linguistically rich and diverse region to plan your attendance in Bengaluruat this wonderful biennial event for our profession. We join with our hosts in warmly welcoming you for this very special occasion.

Prof. Dr. Zulkarnain A. Hatta

President, APASWE

Rose Henderson

President, IFSW-AP