Mashkhura Akilova (Columbia University)

(United States)

Topic: Integrative Social Work Practice with Displaced Populations: Methods for Training Social Workers

Nancy Murakami, Pacific University in Oregon; Pinar Ioannides, Hope for Children, Cyprus; Karolina Lukasiewicz, University of Warsaw

Thematic area: Humanitarian and Social Work / Migration and Integration

Language: English 


There are currently more forcibly displaced persons around the world than ever before recorded, and social workers are well suited to respond to this global humanitarian issue. With histories of human rights violations and unrelenting instability and danger, survivors live at the intersection of racial, social, and political injustices. The impacts are broad and complex, and many responders to humanitarian crises are insufficiently trained and supported. Currently, the field of humanitarian response is led by practitioners in public health, public policy, and international development, whose approach – while proper for their respective fields – may contribute to fragmented response and services provided to the displaced population.
The core values, principles, and approaches of social work such as person-centered and human right-based practice, culturally-responsive care, and multi-system approaches, align with humanitarian response needs. This positions social workers to have increased leadership in establishing policy and practice responses, engaging in research, and practicing directly with forcibly displaced populations, both domestically and internationally. However, the specialized knowledge and skills needed by social workers to work effectively and ethically in the humanitarian field can be challenging to teach to students.
This workshop will present innovative pedagogical methods to train future social work practitioners and to deepen the knowledge and skills of current social workers practicing domestically and internationally. The workshop includes a panel of four social work scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are editors and contributors to a book Integrative Social Work Practice with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and other Forcibly Displaced Persons.
Specializing in various fields of social work practice, the panelists will discuss the need and tools for integrative training to prepare social work practitioners to effectively promote human rights and healing for displaced groups. Perspectives from macro, mezzo and micro levels of practice, as well as innovative approaches for educating social work practitioners-in-training will be discussed in this workshop.