Johannesburg, 16 July (OurVoice): ‘Racism is rampant and inequality and discrimination in many forms are growing phenomena in our lives’ said International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD) President Professor Dr. Manohar Pawar in his opening remarks at the 22nd (ICSD) biennial conference at Johannesburg in Africa at 1300 hours (local time) said a news release on Tuesday.
The ICSD biennial summit is organized by the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg focusing on innovations to tackle poverty and inequality and related challenges. Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Centre for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University, St Louis, and the Peking University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and China Social Work Research Centre are co-organizing the conference. Nearly 300 participants from 27 countries took part in the summit. In the nearly 50 years of ICSD history, this is the first full online conference due to Covid Pandemic across the globe.
Security and conflict threats, destabilizing regional tensions are reappearing. The ongoing pandemic is causing poverty and people’s vulnerabilities have increased in many countries. ‘’Social development thoughts, once some people mistakenly limited to developing countries, have become increasingly globally relevant to both developed and developing nations. In a way, the corona virus pandemic is propagating that human life, health, and environment and peace, if not more, are equally important as economic development’’ said ICSD President.
Zanele Mbeki, a feminist South African social worker and founder of Women’s Development Bank and a former first lady of South Africa said, ‘pandemic has changed our lives; extreme concentration of wealth, rising youth unemployment, gender inequality have compounding and exclusionary effect poor people, require structural systemic policies; inclusive socio economic eco system; change will be propelled by the pandemic.’
Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice chancellor of the University of Johannesburg said, ‘there is no greater time than now to reflect on our progress. We need to discover a brave new world.’ Among others Chairperson of the conference Prof Antoinette Lombard, Prof Leila Patel and Prof Kammilla Naidoo spoke over the conference on poverty, inequality, ecological crisis, social protection and innovation solutions based on scientific knowledge.
The speakers of the conference said, organizations such as the ICSD and social development research centers have a significant role to play. In recognition of their contributions to social development theory and practice and human wellbeing, Professor Dr. Pawar conferred prestigious ‘leadership in social development’ award on the Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg and the Department of Social Development and Welfare, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
ICSD Vice President Dr. Mostafizur Rahman, a Bangladeshi scholar said, the Johannesburg conference will cover eight themes and will look at a range of topics including social development responses to global challenges including pandemics, migration, racial injustice, the digital divide, and economic crises. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, under the leadership of Prof. Leila Patel, Prof. Lauren Graham and Prof. Antionette Lombard and all the organizing committee members, the 22nd ICSD conference will underscore inequity, poverty, social development around the globe. Innovative solutions to address these challenges are also presented and discussed at the Johannesburg conference this year.