Social work qualification and social work experience discussed at the international level
The international scientific conference “Social Work & Social Research” jointly organized by the Azerbaijan University, Sakarya University of Türkiye, Washington University in St. Louis, USA and the Center for Social Research has concluded its work. The two-day conference hosted by Azerbaijan University focused on social work experience during the crisis, development of social work education, creation of international standards in this field, social protection of vulnerable groups, and other such issues.
Rector of Azerbaijan University Saadat Aliyeva gave an opening speech at the event and pointed out that the topic of the conference was not chosen by chance. Staff training and promotion of scientific research in the field of organization of social work is one of the priority directions for the higher education institution she leads. On the other hand, the recent addition of new ones to the existing conflicts, including ecological and natural disasters, reveals the existence of serious social problems in the world and the need to investigate them from a scientific point of view.
The Rector brought to the attention of the conference participants that social work with the population is of special importance in the new socio-economic and political conditions. More and more countries consider themselves to be socially oriented with their main operating parameters. The foundation of social policy based on stable and successful world experience in Azerbaijan was laid by national leader Heydar Aliyev. Special attention to the field of social policy at the state level by Mr. President Ilham has been announced repeatedly. The large social projects implemented in the country and the allocation of a significant part of the country's budget to the social sphere prove this. The services by Mehriban Aliyeva, the first vice-president of Azerbaijan, should be specially mentioned in this direction.
Saadat Aliyeva mentioned that the recent increase in interest in topics such as social work, its organization, and social policy in the world as well as in Azerbaijan has made the scientific investigation of these issues more relevant. Taking this into account, the scientific journal “Social Issues” was founded by the decision of the Scientific Council of Azerbaijan University. So far, 2 issues of the journal have been published.
Rector added that the attention of the international scientific environment in the process of organizing the conference shows that its topic was chosen correctly. Taking into account the expressed interest, it is planned to organize the second conference next year by the decision of the Scientific Council of the university. Saadat Aliyeva expressed her hope that the obtained results will be useful for all participants and that the proposed recommendations will find their application in practical activities, and invited the conference participants to the next meeting scheduled for a year later.
In her speech, Michael Sherraden, professor of Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, emphasized the importance of joint action to make the world a better place. Michael Sherraden pointed out that people should always support each other as a family, community and society. The professor pointed out that the way out is to find solutions instead of targeting problems in the direction of social work.
Chairman of the Social Research Center, Member of Parliament Zahid Oruj reported that social worker programs are being implemented in more than 10 higher education institutions in Azerbaijan. Specialist training in the law "On Social Services" is carried out with a 4-year higher education in the relevant legal framework. Every year, 120 students are admitted to Azerbaijan University for bachelor's degree in social work, 100 to Baku State University, and more than 10 to master's degree.
The deputy mentioned that there is a deep need for social workers who work in a wide range of fields, from caring for the participants of the Patriotic War, to the wounded and martyred, as well as to low-income families: “The training of military social workers is the most important task facing the public and private sectors. Tens of thousands of professionals are needed to serve our nation, which has gone through two wars in 30 years”.
Chairman of the Milli Majlis Committee for Labor and Social Policy, MP Musa Guliyev emphasized in his speech the importance of defining the standards and differences between them in the field of social work and social services. The chairman of the committee noted that scientists should give their proposals on this issue and projects should be implemented in this direction.
Akmaral Alnazarova, the deputy chairperson of the Senate of Kazakhstan, Nazgul Sagindykova, the Vice Minister of Labor and Social Protection of this country, pointed out that Azerbaijan's experience in the field of social work education is commendable and wished success to the work of the conference. Vugar Behbudov, Chairman of the Board of the Social Services Agency under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, reported about the organization of industrial experience for students studying social work and evaluated the event as an important step and platform in the discussion of current issues in the field of social policy and social work. Vugar Behbudov expressed confidence that the discussions held at the conference will contribute to the social state building strategy.
After the opening, the work of the conference continued with the plenary session. The plenary session of the first working day of the conference was devoted to the topic of financial skills and three plenary reports were heard. Professor Jin Huang of Washington University in St. Louis, USA gave a report on “Financial skills and asset development: education and experience for social workers”, Professor Shu Fang of China's Central University of Finance and Economics on “Financial Skills and Social Work in China” and Lissa Johnson, a lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, co-director of the Center for Social Development on “Financial Literacy and Social Work in the United States”. The conference continued its work in divisional meetings.
The plenary session of the second working day of the conference was dedicated to child development accounts. Participants and guests listened at the next plenary session to reports by Michael Sherraden, professor of Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, founder and director of the Center for Social Development, on “Development of financial skills and assets in social policy and social work education”, by Aytekin Huseynli, the leading researcher of the center on “Child development accounts in oil and gas-rich countries: the case of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan”, by Nazgul Sagindykova, the Vice Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Kazakhstan on “Child Development Accounts in Kazakhstan: National Children's Fund”, by Aviad Tur-Sinai, professor at Israel's Max Stern Yezreel Valley College on “Child development accounts in Israel - uniqueness, successes and challenges” and by Lee Zou, director of international programs at the Center for Social Development at the University of Washington in St. Louis, USA on “Children's Accounts for Everyone: Global Overview and Potential”.
Creating competencies, new skills and global standards in the field of social work education; Sustainable development and social work education; Digitization and ICT in social work education; Public health crisis; Social work with war victims and soldiers; Issues such as vulnerable groups and social protection were discussed in the sectional meetings of the conference.
The conference ended with the closing ceremony. Vice-rector for scientific affairs of Azerbaijan University, Doctor of Mathematics Yusif Gasimov made a speech and emphasized the important scientific and practical importance of the conference, thanked the organizers and participants at the closing ceremony.
It should be noted that 156 reports from 32 countries of the world were accepted for the conference. The working language of the hybrid conference is English. Up to 40 of the world's most famous scientists from more than 10 countries have confirmed their participation "in person" on the subject of the conference. Participants from about 40 countries joined the work of the conference via the Zoom platform. The plenary speakers of the conference are the world's most famous scientists on the subject.
Conference materials will be submitted for indexing in Web of Science and Scopus databases. It is planned to hold the second "Social Work & Social Research" conference on November 22-23, 2024.
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