NASW Foundation International News

The 36th Annual Social Work Day at the United Nations Held April 1.

The 36th Annual Social Work Day at the United Nations was held on Monday, April 1, 2019 in the historic United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber. The 2019 theme was Strengthening Human Relationships: Policies and Programs to Protect Children. For 35 years students, practitioners and educators have convened at the United Nations to learn more about the United Nations projects and issues related to international social work and the critical role social work plays in the international arena.


The International Federation of Social Work (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) coordinated this year’s event which focused on the theme Strengthening Human Relationships; Policies and Programs to Protect Children. Robin Mama, representing IFSW, and Shirley G. Gabel, representing IASSW, co-chaired the Social Work Day program. NASW was represented by NASW CEO, Dr. Angelo McClain, NASW President, Dr. Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, NASW Foundation Director, Bob Arnold, and NASW Assistant Director, Susan Rubin.

Feature speakers included:

  • The Honorable Georgi Panayotov, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations who discussed the initiatives his country has taken to ensure that the welfare of children is a top social priority. 
  • Aniruddha Kulkarni, a Child Protection Specialist at the Program Division, UNICEF Headquarters, New York contributes to international policy and program development on child protection systems, social service workforce for child protection, care reform, child labor and coordinates UNICEF’s protection work force.
  • Griet Cattaert, a Policy Officer at the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration was closely involved in the negotiation process leading to the adoption of the social protection floor recommendation and in advancing effective inter-agency cooperation to enhance global coordination on social protection issues. 
  • Wenyan Yang, Chief Global Dialogue on Social Development Branch, in the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the United Nation’s  Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is the Division’s focal point supporting the work of the Commission for Social Development and supervised the preparation of the publication Report on World Social Situation.
  • Mariama Diallo is a Program Director at Sanctuary for Families where her primary role is to provide trauma-informed individual and group therapy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, civil wars/genocide and other types of gender violence including female genital mutilation and force marriage.
  • Bushra Husain, representing the Forced Marriage Project, Sanctuary for Families. She is the founder of the New York State Coalition to End Forced and Child Marriage. 
  • Sergei Zelenev, ICSW Executive Director provided the closing remarks for the program. 

View the webcast for the 36th Social Work Day at the United Nations by visiting UN Web TV.