28 March, 2011

Establishing the RMA prototype

This time it was Vallodalid, Spain where the EDDILI consortium gathered to have its 4th EU level meeting. Our host was the INTRAS foundation, a non-profit organisation developing and promoting activities concerning assistance, research, evaluation and dissemination of mental health and other disabilities actions, plus an English language webpage to explain more !
Within the designated one-day meeting the project partners managed to jointly establish the definitive prototype, the draft (extended) table of contents for the RMA manual, and get a solid overview of all that's coming up in the next few months.
It was in that sense a most productive meeting, meeting all the objectives set beforehand, while it also demonstrated the cooperative mode that we had been working in up to that point. Meetings are always the best opportunity to share thoughts on (presentations of) work done and updates on current and future work, in order to have everyone on the same page.
This meeting we were joined by two delegates from the EU commission, 2 Grundtvig project managers, who attended the session as external observers and were helpful in making practical suggestions to round off this multilateral Grundtvig project successfully.
Here is a visual representation of the meeting:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog post reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.

15 March, 2011

World Social Work Day in Rotterdam

Today social workers around the world joined together to celebrate World Social Work Day on March 15, 2011. This annual event, celebrated on the third Tuesday in March, focuses on social work contributions to society and is part of an on-going dialogue about how to address challenging social conditions worldwide.
Here's a short speech by the president of IFSW:

World Social Work Day 2011: Message from IFSW President Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW from IFSW on Vimeo.

The theme for this year's Social Work Day 2011 was “Social Work voices responding to global crises: Together we develop the Agenda!“
And this challenge was taken up here in Rotterdam within our School of Social Work.
The mission of the social work profession and the development of social policy are rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers, social work educators and policy practitioners and developers the world over, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective.
In June 2010, at the global social work conference in Hong Kong, three key social work organisations at the global level initiated a discussion to develop a Global Agenda for social work and social development, a common Global Agenda for years to come, articulating a set of common goals. The challenges which are collectively faced at present are so enormous that there is an overwhelming need for a united voice and solidarity.
What started in Hong Kong was the beginning of a process of shared engagement among social work and social development practitioners and social work educators the world over.
With this in mind we planned to have the kick-off for the joint social work module for all year 1 students on today's World Social Work Day.

From many sides an appeal had been made to encourage all classes in schools of social work around the world, service agencies, other sites where social work and social development organisations are involved and communities linked to social work and social development to discuss and comment on the Global Agenda. And this opportunity was seized by a number of people within our university, not only by way of a big event for all year 1 students, but also by stimulating all lecturers to pay attention to the issue in their lessons. A learning package with tips and suggestions was developed specifically for that purpose, with a focus on poverty as the main issue. Now it's time to harvest and analyse all the tips and suggestions for the Global Agenda.
A great and unifying initiative that will remind all involved that social work is truly an international profession practised all over the world and rooted in a common set of core values. Here are some images of the event which took place in the Scottish church in Rotterdam:

And here's a link to how World Social Work Day was celebrated in other countries.

07 March, 2011

Canadian and American surveys on international education

Canadian students are convinced of the benefits of studying abroad and of the value of having international students on their campuses. A survey of nearly 3,000 students looked at their attitudes to the internationalisation of Canadian campuses as well as their own opportunities to pursue studies abroad. The students indicated that the "ability to work in diverse cultural settings" was important in terms of getting a job.
Similarly, a majority considered "knowledge of international affairs" to be an asset in eventual job-seeking. 9% of students responded they had already participated in a study abroad programme, while another 26% said it was likely that they would pursue studies abroad in the future.
Not surprisingly, nearly half the respondents said they would prefer to study in English-speaking countries, particularly the UK and Australia; 10% indicated they would like to study in France.
Less than two weeks later University World News, "the global window on higher education", posted an article saying that most Americans consider international exposure to be an essential part of the student experience. A survey by the Washington-based international educators' association NAFSA, entitled Educating Students for Success in the Global Economy, found that Americans are committed to the principle that in order to thrive in the future, we must prepare students today for life and careers in an age of global connectedness and global competition.
In short, there is overall recognition that the country's future success rests on its ability to prepare students with the skills necessary to navigate in a competitive international landscape, to thrive in the global workplace, and to leverage their talents and skills in ways that move a country forward in an increasingly connected world.
(Interestingly, one question addressed the contentious and polarising issue of facilitating the immigration of skilled higher educational professionals to the US. Although support wavered - at 40% - the overall data showed that those more strongly in favour of international education recognised that the recruitment of international talent was a necessary way to fuel excellence in higher education.)
It's clear that universities have an important role to play in preparing students for the new era of global engagement! And international students within your university can play a significant part in nurturing global citizens.
Source: www.universityworldnews.com