Derr Addresses Refugee Issues

Written by Laura Paskin
September 25, 2015

Social Work Professor Amelia Derr co-led a day-long session at the International Federation of Social Work Europe conference focused on migration. Seventy migration scholars, social workers, and asylum seekers attended the conference in Edinburgh as Europe was grappling with the Syrian refugee crisis. The conference produced policy and practice recommendations disseminated to the International Federation of Social Work and elsewhere.

In addition, Derr published "Social Work in a Post-9/11 Context: Integrative Practice with Immigrants And Refugees in the United States," in Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges (2015, Routledge). The book provides examples of social work in various countries and examines the impact of policy in challenging environments.

"Social work takes many forms and its practice varies by country," Derr said. "The common thread is that social work is a profession that strives to advance the causes of those who are marginalized with the aim of promoting social justice, equality, and human rights."

Derr joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 2013. She teaches introductory social work courses, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and social work practice with immigrants and refugees. In 2014, she has facilitated the Refugee Women's Institute, an 8-week program that brought refugee women and women police officers together under the sponsorship of the City of Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Derr sees social work as a career that is the embodiment of social justice: "We are social justice workers, not just social workers. Social workers create social justice in the community through building relationships, community organizing, policy advocacy, and working for social change. I feel really lucky to be at a university that supports that vision and with students that vision attracts."

You can read more about Amelia Derr and watch her video interview here.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees and 7 master's degrees, including a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a Master of Social Work (MSW).