The Center for International Social Work StudiesNews and Events

Recent Events

The Center for International Social Work Studies (CISWS) hosts a number of events and programs each year to facilitate discussion and shed light on international social work issues.


World Social Work Day at the United Nations

Professor Rebecca Thomas and students at UN Social Work Day 2023In April 2023, the two CISWS student interns, a social work doctoral student, and four other internationally minded MSW students attended the 39th annual Social Work Day at the United Nations. The conference met for the first time in person since the start of the pandemic and was held inside the Economic and Social Council Chamber (ECOSOC). The program’s theme was “Creating a More Inclusive World: Overcoming Barriers to EnABLE Environments” and discussed social workers’ role in spreading awareness to the social barriers impacting persons with disabilities, and the responsibility we have in creating an inclusive and integrative society that promotes the well-being and autonomy of persons with all abilities. The students also attended Fordham University’s Global Student Conference, “Respecting Diversity Through Joint Social Action: Reframing Disability as Ability.”

In March 2021, both CISWS student interns had the privilege to virtually attend the 37th annual World Social Work Day at the United Nations. This year's presiding theme was Ubuntu, a South African philosophy that translates to "I am because we are." According to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW, 2021), Ubuntu is "a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all people’s involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair, and socially just future."

View the 2021 World Social Work Day video on YouTube.

The Collective Spirit of Aging Through a Human Rights Perspective

In February 2023, the CISWS hosted a virtual panel discussion that highlighted aging through a human rights perspective titled, "The Collective Spirit of Aging Through a Human Rights Perspective." The panelists were: Dr. Carol Cox, Professor at the Graduate School at Fordham University; Dr. Rupal Parekh, Assistant Professor at UConn School of Social Work; and Dr. Catherine Medina, Associate Professor Emerita at UConn School of Social Work. Both CISWS interns co-moderated the program with Dr. Rebecca Thomas and guided the conversation through various topics within aging and human rights.

Dr. Rebecca Thomas introducing virtual panel about aging.

International Social Work: An Evening With Authors Lynne Healy and Rebecca Thomas

Joined by Louise Simmons, Ph.D., UConn School of Social Work professor of community organizing, and Jody Olsen, Ph.D., MSW, the most recent director of the Peace Corps (2018-Jan. 2021), Center for International Social Work Studies Director Rebecca L. Thomas, Ph.D., and Founding Director Lynne Healy, Ph.D., the authors of the third edition of "International Social Work: Professional Action in an Interdependent World," engaged in a meaningful discussion about global social work and its impact on human rights and globalization during a virtual event in March 2021. View the recording below:

Center for International Social Work Studies panelists

Global Impact of COVID-19: Social Work Response

In fall 2020, the Center for International Social Work Studies hosted a virtual panel discussion on the global impact of COVID-19 and social workers' responses. The Center wanted to acknowledge how essential social workers have been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the global reach of their work. The Center invited Dr. Vimla Nadkarnni, Dr. Lena Dominelli, and Joel Cruz, M.Th., to share their thoughts on their country's response to the pandemic and the role social workers play in that response. View the recording below:

Center for International Social Work Studies panelists

United Nations and NGO Committee Work

Student Emma Heintz '22 MSW
Emma Heintz '22 MSW

CISWS student interns Emma Oliver Heintz '22 MSW and Emily Duszlak '22 MSW participated in United Nations (UN) and NGO Committee events and meetings throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. Heintz attended monthly meetings of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO-CSW), while Duszlak participated in the NGO Committee on Social Development.

Both interns also attended the virtual NGOCSW65 forum, presented by the NGO-CSW and the UN. Heintz and Duszlak learned about the status of women on a global scale through the event, with Heintz concentrating on attending events that discussed violence against women and girls (VAWG) and Duszlak focusing on topics including infanticide and femicide. Many of the discussions on violence against women and girls centered on the correlation between stay at home orders and lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in such violence. Reiterated in almost of the VAWG events was the

Student Emily Duszlak '22 MSW
Emily Duszlak '22 MSW

importance of women's roles in government and the recovery COVID-19 process. They acknowledged that stay-at-home orders seemed like the safest options to protect citizens globally, the unintended consequences to women’s safety and wellbeing was compromised, and there was very little forethought for how these orders would affect women and girls. The sentiment echoed through the NGOCSW65 was that for women to achieve gender equality and to end VAWG, women must be at the forefront of decision making.


Commission on the Status of Women International Women's Day Graphic

International Women's Day

Student intern Emma Heintz attended the United Nations and UN Women's virtual 2021 International Women’s Day event. The focus this year's event was on women’s roles during the pandemic and in pandemic recovery. Speakers discussed how women were disproportionately impacted by the virus — evidenced through increases in maternal mortality, gender-based violence, unpaid work, joblessness, and girls being pulled out of school — and how women must be at the center of recovery efforts.

View the International Women's Day event video on YouTube.