APASWE President's Message, Auckland, New Zealand 2009

Let’s Work Together

Dear Colleagues:

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I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as President of the APASWE for the next two years.

First, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the many people from various countries and regions who persuaded me to run, nominated me, and supported me during the entire election period. My only hesitancy came from the simple fact that I belong to a country that has a history of invading other countries to exploit their life and wealth. It is particularly not easy for me to work in Asia and the Pacific. Yet, I decided to accept the nomination. I will do my very best.

I also would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the people who founded this organization in 1974 (APASWE Constitution) and have passed the baton from hand to hand till today over these 35 years, including our immediately previous leaders. Because of their efforts and the existence of the APASWE, we could now meet here and work together for the enhancement of the well-being of all people in the field.

The APASWE region geographically covers more than 60 countries and regions, or nearly a third of the globe. Still today, people are still killing and hurting each other, and sometimes themselves, in battlefields and on streets, or in workplaces and even at their own homes. People are suffering from destitute poverty, discrimination, oppression, disasters, migration, HIV, physical and mental health problems, disabilities, abuse and neglect and care of children and elders, and many other difficulties which are common to most countries and districts or unique to each locality. But our region has the assets and resources to tackle them—many good devoted people, organizations and communities, their cooperation and solidarity, and rich culture and philosophy. Let’s work together for the alleviation and solution of hardships which our people confront.

My intended prime mission for the next two years is “institutional building”. I would like to make this association more sustainable and accountable, and—hopefully--more vital. To put this in practical terms, I look to: (1) increase our membership, (2) shorten the distance between member schools and the APASWE, (3) be sensitive regarding languages, (4) promote cooperation with national associations, (5) emphasize the role and involvement of schools in countries and districts with one or several schools, (6) reform the relation between APASWE, a regional association, and IASSW, the international association, and (7) run our association organizationally or as a constitutional, “law-abiding” organization in its internal operations. Shall we develop some new activities beyond the biannual conferences? For example, how about the review of the IASSW=IFSW International Definition of Social Work under our own auspices, the design of a common “Disaster and Social Work” course and textbook, and the establishment of an APASWE=IASSW joint education and training center for a specific field such as children, the aged and aging, refugees, or people working outside their own homeland? Without a solid and responsible organization, we can never serve the people who are calling for our dedicated efforts.

Let’s consider “What can we do together utilizing this organization?” rather than ask “What services can the APASWE provide for me or us?” I look forward to working with you for next two years.

 
In solidarity,
Tatsuru AKIMOTO, DSW
President, APASWE