Welcome message

The  major  theme  of  the  conference is Promoting healthy human relationships. This theme is aligned  with  the  fourth  theme  of  the Global  Agenda  for  Social  Work,  viz.  Promoting the importance of human relationships. The profession of social work has always championed the centrality of human relationships, being less interested in the internet functioning of people and more interested in their interpersonal functioning, within broader social structures and forces.

In contemporary South Africa, human relationships are under considerable threat. Despite the 1994 transformation  to  an  inclusive  and  human-rights-based  democracy,  human  relations remain strained. This particularly evident in the racial relations between black and white South Africans,  but  also  in  the  relations  between  South  African  and  citizens  of  other  countries  in Africa, between women and men and between rich and poor. The ideals of Ubuntu  – that we recognize and cherish the full humanity of all other people, as part of a large family  – are not fully realized in daily life.

Because of its focus on interpersonal relations, systems theory and the ecological perspective, as well as its growing commitment to African theory, South African social work is – or should be – ideally positioned to promote healthy human relationships. This should be done at the level of couples, families and small groups, but also at the larger level of communities, as well as between sociodemographic groups that presently are struggling with recognize and embody respect for the full humanities of ‘the other’.

This conference draws together South African social work educators, as well as researchers, policy  makers,  managers,   practitioners  and  people   from   social   service   professions  and disciplines across South Africa and beyond. Social work students will be specifically invited and assisted  to  participate, to  give  voice  to  their views  on  social work education.

The  main  theme  and  the  sub-themes  of  the  conference  will  provide  delegates  with  key opportunities  to  network  and  deliberate  around  a  range  of  issues,  pertinent  to  social work education that fosters the knowledge and skills to promote healthy human relationships  and practice  (particularly  concerning  the  construction   of  policy,  programme  and  practice that champions human rights and relationships).

We   welcome  you  to  this ASASWEI  conference  and  invite  you  to  submit  an  abstract  to present a paper or poster. Participate with us in what is sure to be a vibrant and challenging conversation.

Prof Adrian D. van Breda                                           Prof Ndangwa Noyoo

President: ASASWEI                                                          Head of Department: University of Cape Town