Mangaluru, Feb 15: ‘Spandana’ - Responding To Realities international conference ‘From Diversity Towards Inclusion: A Social Work Paradigm’ was inaugurated at School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, on Thursday, February 15.
The august gathering was welcomed by Susan George, student convener.
Dr Rameela Shekar, dean introduced the theme of the conference.
The conference was inaugurated by Dr B S Nagendra Prakash, registrar, Mangalore University. In his inaugural address Dr Prakash congratulated the institute for selecting the theme which is the need of the hour. He saw ‘Spandana’ as the ‘Bridge from diversity to inclusion’ and encouraged all the social work students to be the ambassadors of change. He reminded the delegates that the Indian history in spite of economic, social and religious diversity has a culture that speaks of equality. Further Dr Prakash was excited to inform that Mangaluru ranks third on the environmental index and challenged the young delegates to make it number one next year. He concluded that ‘Spandana’ and Roshni be a launching ground for change agents to make the place a better world.
Dr Joseph Wronka, representative to the United Nations in Geneva for the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), and professor of Social Work, Springfield College, Massachusetts, delivered the keynote address on the theme: Human Rights, Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion- Implications for the Advanced Generalist Practice Paradigm. Dr Wronka spoke about his experience on working with his Inupiat colleagues, describing on the difference in the said cultures, while simultaneously elaborating on how human rights is inclusive to social justice. He discussed the problem of alcoholism and suicidal tendencies among indigenous people, from the perspective of an advanced generalist with quantitative and qualitative approaches, categorizing them into levels of Meta-Macro, Macro and Mezzo. He
deliberated on the various presentations and conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, along with their respective declarations and guiding principles. He stressed on the importance of face-to-face interaction, while elaborating on how the advance of technology has decreased human intercommunication. He briefly touched upon the five core notions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Human Dignity, Non discrimination, Civil and Political rights, Economic Social and cultural rights, and Solidarity Rights. He summarized with preliminary assessments on the comparisons between the Constitution of India and the UDHR. Finally, he concluded by stressing on the importance of kindness and humility among humanity, and encouraged the students of social work to strive for a more inclusive society.
During the presidential address Dr Sophia Fernandes, principal of the college highlighted and said, “We are dealing with the two most significant deeply interrelated issues such as diversity and inclusion during this conference which is a matter of serious concern. In the world of injustice and exclusion that dehumanises values, the emerging issues of diversity and inclusion are relevant in the field of social work profession.” Quoting Martin Luther King junior, she said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and hence it becomes significant for the social work profession to respond to the challenges that are emerging from the issues of diversity and inclusion. She further emphasised the need for social work education and practice relevant to address the emerging challenges.