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New School of Social Welfare Spring Lecture Series Tackles Issues of Iraqi Refugees, Homelessness

March 9, 2009



Refugees of the war in Iraq.

The role of social work in solving the problems faced by refugees of the war in Iraq will be discussed on March 12.   

The war in Iraq has received a great deal of attention from researchers weighing the vast global impact of the conflict. Medical and public health officials are seeking to address the ravages of the war on the Iraqi population as well as returning veterans. Historians and political scientists will debate the war and the role it has played in the U.S. and international political landscapes for years to come. Now social work researchers are tackling the devastating problems of Iraqi refugees whose lives have been disrupted by war.

Presenters Scott Harding and Kathryn Libal of the University of Connecticut have been invited to address this issue on March 12 in a new lecture series being hosted by the University at Albany's School of Social Welfare this spring. "Six years after the United States invaded Iraq, much of the country is marked by social disintegration and a breakdown of community. Infant and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world. The ongoing conflict has also created a refugee crisis," said Harding.  "Based on field research in Jordan and Syria and interviews with non-governmental organizations, U.N., and U.S. officials, we contend that social work must play a central role in creating refugee policy and implementing humanitarian relief." 

"Iraq, homelessness, Hurricane Katrina: these are topics of great interest to social work practitioners and the general public alike," said Katharine Briar-Lawson, dean of UAlbany's School of Social Welfare. "It's imperative for universities to help shed light on these issues." Briar-Lawson said the series' first session on Feb. 25 about veterans and their families was very moving and drew a number of vets of the war in Iraq.

Heather Larkin, a professor at UAlbany's School of Social Welfare, and John Records, executive director of the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), will address how childhood experiences play a role among homeless people on March 18. "Homelessness has many causes, and people who are homeless often experience complex and co-occurring problems," said Larkin. "But what we've found is a troubled childhood can often shed light on root causes of homelessness, and can also suggest ways to help homeless people to rebuild their lives."

Spring 2009 School of Social Welfare Lecture Series:

March 11 
12:15-1:30 p.m.
Developing Practice Based Evidence to Support an Evidence Based Practice “Culture of Inquiry”:  The Research and Educational Potential of SOAR for the UAlbany School of Social Welfare
Presenter: David Duffee
In the summer of 2000, St. Anne Institute and LaSalle School invited researchers from the University to help them “learn what works best with which clients.” This discussion with the executive directors of St. Anne and LaSalle and the current SOAR investigators is an invitation for the School of Social Welfare to become more broadly engaged in the SOAR program.

March 12
12:15-1:30 p.m.
The Politics of Iraqi Refugees: What Role for Social Work?
Presenters: Scott Harding & Kathryn Libal, University of Connecticut School of Social Work

March 18
12:15-1:30 p.m.
Responding to Adverse Childhood Experiences among Homeless People
Presenters: John Records, Executive Director, Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) & Heather Larkin, MSW, Ph.D.

March 19
4-5:30 p.m.
Your Social Worker with a Microphone
Presenter: Kathryn Zox, MSW, M.Ed.
Kathryn Zox is a nationally recognized radio host and UAlbany alumna who produces The Kathryn Zox Show from Albany, N.Y., airing on the VoiceAmerica Women's Network and WMET 1160 AM, Washington, D.C. She has been a featured life expert and co-host on Doug Stephan's syndicated Good Day Show.

March 25
12:15-1:30 p.m.
Integrating Energy Psychology Methods into the Treatment of Trauma
Presenter: Mary T. Sise, LCSW, D.CEP

April 1
12-1:30 p.m.
LGBT Aging Video Series
Video showings of:
"No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon" – Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon have been partners in love and political struggle for more than 50 years.
"Liberty": Three Stories about Life & Death – An engaging portrait of a chosen family of lesbian women in midlife and old age confronting illness, death, and grief.
Presenters: Nora Yates, executive director of the Capital District Lesbian and Gay Community Council and Keith Hornbrook, executive director of the Cohoes Senior Center. Yates and Hornbrook will discuss their agency's current aging initiatives.  

April 2
Social Welfare in Modern Russia: Gerontological Social Work and Social Work Education in Russia.
Presenter: Vladimir Fokine

April 15
4-5:30 p.m.
The New Orleans Experience: MSW Student Perspectives. NOLA-Three Years Later
Presenters: Nmeregiri Nwogu, Ashley Paniagua, Michelle Cinque, David Davis, Amanda Gitomer, and Timothy Larose.

April 21
12:15-1:30 p.m.
Improving Health at the Community Level: Models, Questions and Strategies
Presenter: Philip McCallion, Ph.D.

April 29
12:-1:30 p.m.
Interagency collaboration in social work.
Presenter: Bo Morthorst Rasmussen, Visiting Professor from Denmark, University College South.



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