Family therapy forum bridges the gap

Rain Hui

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"We are proud to build a bridge from east to west, and we hope, one day, scholars from opposite sides of the bridge will meet," said Professor Ng Sik-hung, Head of the Department of Applied Social Studies (SS), at the opening ceremony of the "Family Therapy Forum: East Meets West" on 4 December.

 

The Forum is the highlight of a five-day visit of a University of Houston delegation to SS. Under an academic exchange agreement signed three years ago with the Graduate School of Social Work of the University of Houston, every year SS sends four Year 3 students to the Master's programme at Houston. To date, 10 SS students have participated. In return, a 17-member delegation comprising the Dean, Professors, faculty members, practitioners and graduate students from the University of Houston visited SS from 30 November to 5 December. They also visited the Social Welfare Department, End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation, High Court and Family Court in Hong Kong.

 

“It's a remarkable tour," said Dr Ira Colby, Dean of Houston University's Graduate School of Social Work. "The arrangement provides opportunities for both students and faculty to interact and learn from each other. We learn globally and practice locally." Dr Colby was also impressed by the dedication of CityU students. "They are lucky to have a chance to receive education at a well-qualified and remarkable university in Hong Kong and the exchange programme helps them to become more outgoing," he added. Anny Ma Kit-ying, one of the four students leaving for Houston in January 2004, concurred.

 

She said that meeting the delegation taught her more about the Houston University and better prepared her for the exchange programme there.

 

"Through the exchange programme, my students' English has greatly improved and they have become more confident in expressing themselves," said Dr Elaine Au, SS Assistant Professor. "Social workers in Hong Kong tend to focus more on practical training, but students who have taken part in exchanges show increasing interests in research... We will organize more cross-cultural programm

es to enable students to gain more exposure.' In May 2004, the Department will organize a Young Forum: Youth and Enpowerment in which youths from different countries will meet and present their projects. In the summer of 2004, an exchange programme to Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai will be arranged for 120 students.

 

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