1st ASWC Conference

The ASEAN Social Work Consortium
A Celebration of Success

The First ASEAN Social Work Consortium (ASWC) Meeting, hosted by the Philippines, was successfully held at the Manila Hotel, Philippines on March 1-3, 2011. Seventy- five social welfare officials, social work practitioners and educators from the ten ASEAN member-states took part in the Conference to share updates on social work education and practice, discuss the Consortium structure and adopt a regional and national Work Plan for 2011-14.

The creation of the ASWC was approved by the ASEAN last year. It was a dream initially articulated by the late Dr. Romeo C. Quieta in mid 2000s, as then president of the National Association for Social Work Education Inc. (NASWEI and the Asia Pacific Association of Social Work Educators (APASWE). As the Focal Agency of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare (SOMSWD), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) successfully carried it to fruition. In partnership with various agencies including the Chair of the ASWC Technical Working Group and the National Association of Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI), the DSWD led the preparations to conduct this first ASWC meeting.

The ASWC envisions to promote solidarity among social work practitioners and educators, and schools of social work. Among its purposes are the promotion and development of social work as a profession in the region, the institutionalization of effective collaboration towards excellent and responsive social work education , and the promotion of greater support from policy makers to the role of social work in social development.

In the structure of the ASEAN, the SOMSWD falls under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) which utilizes a Blueprint that outlines activities that will contribute to good neighborliness, shared sense of responsibility and greater understanding. It is to be inclusive in addressing social and human development and will also focus on the social dimension of Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) among the ASEAN Member States. The blueprint ASCC blueprint action c.1 (iv) calls for the establishment of an ASEAN Network of Social Workers by 2013 and action c.1 (xv) calls for the establishment of an ASEAN Consortium of Social Welfare Practitioners, Educators, and Schools of Social Work. DSWD Asec Florita Villar , in her capacity as SOMSWD Focal Point in the Philippines, is currently the State Coordinator of the Consortium.

As the first lead coordinator (2011-2012), the Philippines expressed its commitment to social development, social justice and attainment of the ASCC’s primary goal of contributing to the realization of an ASEAN Community that is people-oriented, socially responsible with focus on solidarity, unity among nations and people. Hosting of this activity conveys that the Philippines prioritizes the pursuit of improvement in the quality of lives of the peoples of ASEAN.

Participants to this activity included delegations from the ten (10) ASEAN Member States including SOMSWD Focal Points and Social Work practitioners and educators. Selected observers from China and the Philippines were also present.

The ASEAN Social Work Consortium (ASWC) is a a major initiative of the Philippines implemented in coordination with Thailand as a joint-proponent. The first two years is an ad-hoc structure led by the Philippines, to be subsequently followed by Thailand in the next term. Moreover, it was agreed that leadership of the ASWC will be on a two-year rotation by each member country, underscoring
that the Secretariat for each term will likewise be from the host country.

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