Conference seeks justice in world of conflict

Craig Francis

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As the drum beats of the opening ceremony’s lion dance subsided, the International Conference on Social Work and Counselling Practice got underway at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 2 June.

Organised by the Department of Applied Social Studies, the conference theme focuses on promoting harmony and justice in a world riven by various forms of conflict. Drawing upon the expertise of speakers from CityU, the US, mainland China, Europe and elsewhere, the conference comprised 19 skill training workshops, three open lectures, six symposia and more than 80 paper presentations on social work and counselling practice in a hostile world.

In his opening remarks, officiating guest Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Provost of CityU, said the four-day conference would tackle some of the greatest challenges facing humankind. “Protecting the welfare of the vulnerable is a huge challenge in a world where the nature of conflict is evolving from border disputes to conflict arising from global warming, cultural clashes and financial issues,” he said.

Professor Alex Kwan Yui-hu conflict_L.jpg en, Head of the Department of Applied Social Studies, described the conference as a place where researchers,

practitioners and teachers can engage in discussion on the future shape of the social work professions. “The central question of the conference is ‘How well did and can social work and counselling professionals promote harmony and justice in a world of conflict?’” he said.

The conference forms part of CityU’s 25th Anniversary programme. Keynote speakers included Professor Ira Colby, Dean, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston; Professor Michael Holosko, Pauline M. Berger Professor of Family and Child Welfare School of Social Work, University of Georgia; Professor Adrian Raine, Chair, Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania; and Professor Robert Neimeyer, Department of Psychology, University of Memphis. Their respective plenary address topics were Macro Social Work Practice in a World of Conflict; Evidence-informed Social Work and Counselling Practice; Counselling Practice in a World of Conflict; and Working with Diverse Clientele in a World of Conflict.

The conference runs until 5 June.

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