Asia Pacific Social Work Conference (APSWC 2019), Bengalore, India | Sept 17th - 20th, 2019.

Prior to the 25th Asia-Pacific Joint Regional Social Work Conference, APASWE, IFSW Asia Pacific Region and the Local Organizing Committee consisting of INPSWA, NIMHANS and CHIRST (Deemed to be University) held a pre-conference seminar on Indigeneity in Asia and Pacific Social Work. The seminar took place in Bengaluru, India at the campus of CHIRST (Deemed to be University) and was facilitated by Dr. Tracie Mafile’o of Massey University, currently serving on the Executive Committee of APASWE.

The first speaker, invited by the Local Organizing Committee, was Dr. Murli Desai, Former Professor at TISS in Mumbai. Her presentation focused on indigenization and decolonization of social work in India. Next, requested by APASWE, Dr. Bindi Bennett (University of the Sunshine Coast) shared her views on indigeneity in Australia based on critical observations about Aboriginal issues in the social work context. Dr. Vince Okada-Coelho from Hawaii Pacific University was chosen as the third speaker by IFSW-AP. He provided an introduction to the question of indigeneity in Japan, namely the work he is involved with the Ainu community.

The audience was asked to discuss in small groups and reflect on important learning as well as what actions can be taken at the regional level to advance indigeneity in social work in the Asia and Pacific. Audience questions and main discussion points included the need to document and write from the various indigenous and cultural perspectives in the regiongaps and balances between indigenous knowledge in traditional approaches compared to Western models of social work, indigenous vulnerabilities in contrast with indigenous strengths, as well as the delicate relationship between practice and education. IFSW-AP Regional Vice President Ms. Irene Leung (HKSWA) delivered a summary and concluding comments on the seminar theme indicating possible future directions. After closing remarks from Dr. Viktor Virag of Nagasaki International University from the APASWE Executive Committee, the event ended with the Local Organizing Committee and APASWE presenting commemorative gifts to the speakers.