International social work conference in November to focus on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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The AASW is proud to launch the 26th Asia-Pacific Regional Social Work Conference 2021. Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, Professor Jioji Ravulo, Professor and Chair of Social Work and Policy Studies at The University of Sydney and former Deputy Premier of Victoria Professor John Thwaites AM, Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and ClimateWorks Australia are confirmed speakers at the upcoming Conference.

The theme of the Conference will be Social Work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). AASW CEO Cindy Smith said, “The Conference is an incredible opportunity to highlight and recognise the contribution of social work to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The global pandemic and climate crisis have only exacerbated inequality and highlighted how interconnected we all are, something social workers know very well. The SDGs provide an essential policy framework to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, focusing on universal, sustainable, and transformative action.

“Furthermore, our region bears the brunt of catastrophic climate change and its flow-on effects, including disease, displacement of peoples and the vulnerability of women and children to poverty and violence. Now is the time to raise awareness and act.

“We look forward to the unique perspectives of the Keynote Speakers and the contributions of all those presenting.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will be held entirely online.

Ms Smith said, “Holding the Conference online allows greater equity of access across Australia and internationally. It will be a content-rich, quality experience for all those in the sector who are passionate about making a difference in the Asia-Pacific region. We look forward to having as many international attendees as possible.”

The Conference will bring together social workers, educators, policy makers, researchers, students, and others from the Asia-Pacific. It will explore how we can address the pressing issues of inequality and sustainability together. The Conference will also focus on the vital role of Indigenous knowledges and wisdom, featuring the International Federation of Social Workers Indigenous Commission.

While the Conference will be online, it will still have many of the benefits of a face-to-face event, including:

  • Pre-conference opening activity
  • Two full days of live content across four streams
  • Three keynote addresses
  • Over 100 abstracts
  • Ten panels/workshops
  • Posters
  • Exhibitors
  • Networking
  • And more to be announced.


To find out more and to register, please see our Conference website. It will be held between 11-13 November 2021.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Bentleigh Gibson, [email protected]. ENDS


About the Conference

AASW’s Conference partners are the International Federation of Social Workers Asia-Pacific (IFSW-AP), the Asian and Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE), the Australian & New Zealand Social Work & Welfare Education & Research (ANZSWWER) and eight Queensland based Universities.

About Cindy Smith

Cindy Smith is a qualified social worker with more than 20 years’ experience, a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Health Administration, a Fellow of the Australian College of Health Management and a graduate with the Australian Institute Company Directors.

She has led the AASW since 2016 with a clear focus on promoting and advocating for the profession and members; providing a strong voice for social justice; building the professional capacity of members; upholding responsibilities for the regulation of the profession; advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work; collaborating with international colleagues, and providing responsible governance and management.

To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Angela Yin on 03 9320 1005.