IFSW President, Dr David N Jones, spent one week visiting China in November 2009, staying in the two cities of Beijing and Shanghai. He was the guest of the Chinese Association of Social Work (CASW). The main purpose of the visit was to discuss plans for the Hong Kong 2010 conference but also to hear more about the rapid development of social work in China and see social work projects. On this occasion David was accompanied by his wife, Rachel.
In Beijing, David had meetings with the President and leadership of CASW. Belinda Hui from the Hong Kong 2010 conference team was also present for this meeting. He visited medical and social work projects for children with cerebral palsy and a children’s home and gave an interview to the CASW corporate responsibility newspaper. He was also able to visit some of the historic sights of Beijing as well as the Olympic Park.
David then flew to Shanghai with Mr Xu Liugen, the Vice-President of CASW. In a busy schedule, David and Rachel made several visits hosted by the Shanghai city civil affairs bureau. On Thursday 26th November, they visited an NGO centre supporting the development of a number of NGOs providing social services, including the Pudong Association of Social Workers and the children’s social work department at the main Shanghai hospital, which supports specialist medical units and also provides social work placements. The Friday programme included a visit to a community day care centre for older people and a day centre for young people with learning disabilities. In both cases the services were contracted by the city from independent organisations.
David also attended the annual award ceremony to recognise corporate responsibility by Shanghai’s business community. The principal guest of honour was a former Vice-Chairman of the National People’s congress. David made a short speech stressing the importance of social work to the health of communities, successful social development and the success of business. He was also invited to present some of the certificates to representatives of successful companies. Among those recognised were IBM and Intel.
David had formal meetings with the head of the Shanghai civil affairs bureau and a champion of the development of social work, as well as CASW members and leading business figure in Shanghai.
Speaking after the visit, Dr Jones said ‘I was aware of the rapid growth of social work in China and knew about the government’s support for the profession. It was exciting to see this on the ground for myself. I was very impressed by the commitment of the social workers I met and their knowledge and confidence. In Shanghai I saw how senior city managers understood the potential role of social workers and were working to strengthen services. It was most encouraging to hear that the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010 will include displays about social development and corporate responsibility alongside the displays of business and economic development. I am looking forward to seeing the significant contribution of social workers from China in the Hong Kong 2010 conference.’