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Developing Social Work in Vietnam

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work academic Karen Winter delivered the keynote speech at Vietnam Social Work Day, held in Thu Dau Mot University (TDMU), Binh Duong Province, on 25 March. She also delivered lectures, workshops and training events for social work academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students at TDMU, focussing on her work with social work, education and sociology academics from Edinburgh, Sussex, Cardiff and Oxford; with European academic partners from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania and Republic of Ireland; and internationally with UNICEF and Ain Shams University Egypt.

In April 2010 the Vietnamese government approved that social work could be classified as a profession, raising the profile of social work training, job opportunities and career pathways. TDMU has offered a four year degree in social work training since 2011. Keen to build capacity in social work teaching, training and research, and to strengthen international links, TDMU invited Karen to share insights gained through collaboration with NGOs (including Voice of Young People in Care, Barnardo’s, Irish Foster Carer Association, Fostering Network Northern Ireland), statutory organisations (including English and Welsh Local Authorities, the Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency and Health and Social Care Trusts) and international academic institutions. Her talks covered social work training in Northern Ireland, the legalities of child protection, innovative research methods with young children, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in research and practice, and ethical issues in research with young children.

Reflecting on the week, Dr Le Thi Hoang Lieu, Director of Social Work at TDMU said: ‘Karen’s expertise has been invaluable to us in thinking about how we train, research and publish in social work. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with Karen and with Queen’s University to develop mutually beneficial research and teaching opportunities’.