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Curriculum guide – International social work

The UK’s diverse population means that global perspectives are relevant in all elements of domestic practice. International perspectives are also essential for appreciating the global interconnectedness of social problems so that domestic practice is not viewed in isolation from worldwide systems and events. International social work (ISW) ‘involves relationships between countries in the form of the movement across national borders of social workers, service users and/or social problems and issues’. Healy identifies four elements of ISW:

- Internationally related domestic practice and advocacy.
-  Interchange of ideas and people, professional exchange supported by professional international organisations: International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW), International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW).
- International policy development and advocacy, challenging injustice.
- International practice through employment in international organisations, such as the UN or Red Cross.

ISW envisages a profession that operates at the global level by contributing to national and international policies for social justice and social development. Globalisation has brought considerable homogeneity and an international identity to the social work (SW) profession but alongside this exist varying forms of national SW and indigenous practices.