The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York hosted a Forum entitled International Post-Disaster Recovery and Relief: Why Social Work Matters on 28th October 2016 at its premises.
The Forum, which focused on the role of the social worker in a post-disaster scenario, particularly in providing relief and long-term recovery, was co- hosted by the Council on Global Social Issues of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a non-profit national association representing more than 2500 individual members as well as graduate and undergraduate programmes of professional social work education.
It was attended by a large number of social work students and faculty from the higher education institutes of the Tri-State area as well as representatives from the New York based Permanent Missions.
The Forum had extensive interactive discussions on gender and women’s issues in post-disaster situations, community social work approaches in rebuilding lives after disasters and new challenges for social work in post-disaster scenarios such as social sustainability and child trauma.
Opening the Forum, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Ambassador Rohan Perera stated that disasters exact an enormous toll on economic development of nations, and that their impact is particularly harsh on developing states. He said that Sri Lanka understood this reality very clearly when the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami devastated its coastal communities along with those of many countries in the region.
Ambassador Perera observed that the affected State has a primary role in providing disaster relief assistance. He added that the fundamental value of solidarity in international relations and strengthening international cooperation in providing disaster relief to persons affected, to strengthen the efforts of the affected State must also be recognized.
He stressed that our action must, in a holistic manner, cover all stages of the disaster cycle. In this context, Ambassador Perera emphasized the importance of social workers and their work. He said that social workers have long been involved with disaster management and post-disaster recovery and relief. He added that their unique knowledge and skills in rebuilding communities and societies after disasters has been quite useful.
Prof. Dheeshana Jayasundara, Department of Social Work, University of North Dakota, Chair of the Council on Global Social Issues, and Mr. Dan Hester, School of Social Work, University of Southern California coordinated the arrangements for the Forum.
Ms. Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu, Sub-Regional Coordinator, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Central Asia and South Caucasus, Dr. Johny Augustine, Associate Professor, Social Work, St. Ambrose University, Dr. Golam M. Mathbor, Professor, School of Social Work, Manmouth University, Dr. Marleen Wong, Clinical Professor and Senior Associate Dean, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work of University of Southern California and Dr. Shirley Gatenio Gabel, Professor, Graduate School of Social Science of Fordham University acted as resource persons to the Forum.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations