Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of US Vice President Joe Biden, joined the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) at a national practice conference held in Washington DC on 25 July 2012. Other speakers included the profession’s most recent Nobel Peace Laureate, Mme. Leymah Roberta Gbowee from Liberia.
Gary Bailey , IFSW President, who was present and met both Madame Gwbowee and Dr. Biden, said “their presence at the Restoring Hope Conference reinforced the breadth and depth of social work and how it impacts societies and individuals equally . The fact that Dr. Biden requested to come to speak to over 1,000 social workers and to thank NASW-USA for its work with returning military veterans and their families – which has been a focus of both the First Lady and Dr. Biden – was a real honour and truly showed the power that social work has in changing people’s lives from a macro to an individual perspective.”
The theme of the conference was Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work.
Madame Gbowee, a social worker, was honoured in 2011 for her work unifying groups of women in Liberia to end the violence of civil war in that country. She is founder and president of the Monrovia-based Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa and continues to advance women’s rights in the continent, particularly in conflict and post-conflict regions. The first social worker to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 was Jane Addams.
In her speech to the 2012 conference, Dr. Biden said that she was proud to be the mother of a social worker; her daughter Ashley Biden, graduated with her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) degree. Ashley specialized in macro social work, with an interest in juvenile justice, poverty and education in 2010. Dr Biden paid tribute to the work and commitment of social workers and thanked the profession for its service to the community.
Dr Biden’s speech announced a new Joining Forces commitment aimed at educating all US social workers, regardless of practice area or focus, to have a better understanding of issues relating to the care, culture, and lifestyle of the nation’s troops, veterans, and military families. The Joining Forces commitment means that more than 650,000 social workers – the largest group of mental health care providers in the USA – will have access to training and resources to help meet the needs of service men and women, veterans and military families.
Press release http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/2012/7252012.asp