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Syndicate of Social workers hold international conference in Bethlehem and Jerusalem



From: Palestine News Network

Details Published on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 15:46


PNN/ Bethlehem

Palestinian social workers syndicate on Thursday 20 November 2014 held its international conference on "Social Work in Palestine: challenges and difficulties" for two days. The first day part of the conference was held in occupied Jerusalem in the Frères School, whereas the second took place at Bethlehem University campus.

The conference was coordinated with the British union and the international union for social workers, in an attempt to put the spotlight over the reality of social work in Palestine, and observing the challenges and crises they face under the colonial, political, economic, social and psychological hegemony, focusing on that especially in Jerusalem.

Conference coordinator and Deputy General of the Bethlehem syndicate branch, said that this conference was the first of its kind, since it displayed the challenges against social workers under occupation, daily oppression and aggravating challenges against family, society and land.

Amira added that 500 social workers have participated in the conference, mostly from Palestine and internationals from Britain, France, Switzerland, Jordan India and others for knowledge exchange, which will spared the recommendations to 116 countries all over the world. Amira reiterated the importance of international participation in the conference.

The conference displayed the flexibility of social work in adapting to the local and international crises, including the right to self-determination, and human rights in occupied lands, Professional supervision, and the relations between governmental and non-governmental organizations in Palestine and finally, profession ethics.

Bethlehem University Vice-Chancellor, Br. Peter Bray, started by thanking the attendees of the conference, saying that the university always seeks to improve society, regarding social, psychological issues that Palestinian individuals face because of Israeli occupation limitation, demolition and displacement. Br. Peter added that having a better future requires continuous support from students and syndicates for improvements.

Gaye Shanon, director of the British union for Social workers, reiterated the importance of aiding the Palestinian people to resist and treat the social challenges in the political context. Shanon added that he hoped for futuristic Palestinian-British cooperation in this field, especially after the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza.

Shanon pointed out that he contributed to forming the British-Palestinian network for social workers, for exchange of knowledge regarding challenges for social workers, for the purpose of allocating the role of occupation in violence.

Secretary General of the International Federation of Social Workers, Dr. Rory Truell talked about the trauma of Palestinians under the occupation.

Dr. Truel thanked Bethlehem University for its work in Palestine, and graduating efficient social workers, pointing out to the valuable lectures presented during the conference. He also mentioned social worker Hashem Abu Maria, who was martyred by Israeli bullets, and left his prints in the field of social work.

Riyad Arrar from the Palestinian syndicate of social workers and psychologists stressed the important role of social workers and psychologists in Palestine under the occupation and war crimes, saying that 27% of the people martyred in Gaza were children, and that more that 200 of the killed were women, out of the total of 2,200 martyrs.

On behalf of the syndicate, Arrar said that this cause that must be dealt with from a humane perspective, and that the Palestinian people have a right and must have their own political map. He also thanked the British Parliament for voting in favour of a Palestinian state, and called on international solidarity for the right of return for over 6 million Palestinians in the Diaspora, and releasing the children and women imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails.

The conference sessions included the role of social work against political violence lead by chair of the social sciences department in Bethlehem University, lecturer and feminist, Minerva Jarayaseh Qassis.

In addition to the psychological and social pressures for the wives of martyrs, and the psychological effect of detaining a Palestinian family.

The second session of the conference narrated the suffering and the negativity of Israeli checkpoints on social workers.

The conference recommendations were represented in ways to solve the issues of social workers under political oppression.


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Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine