Researchers from a large number of countries, including Australia, Brazil, the USA, Uganda, India, and Portugal, gathered at the conference held at the University from August 23rd to 25th. The conference was organised by the "International Consortium for Social Development" (ICSD), of which University of Gävle is a member.
Under the theme “Social Development in times of crisis – Challenge and responses” participants discussed issues related to social development.
“When people from different parts of the world come together, one realises how tangible the crises around the world are, and the needs for cross-border partnerships and individual responsibility are underscored," says Sanaya Singh.
Cultural exchange was an important part of the event, and on top of speeches and presentations, participants had the opportunity to experience Swedish folk dance, take a guided tour of Gävle (including Old Gefle), attend a gala dinner where the Forsbacka Chamber Choir sang Swedish songs, as well as dance and listen to the local reggae band Lion Dub.
In addition to the research collective, students and field workers from various countries attended, including Dattatray Waghmare, who traveled from Mumbai, India.
“It was my first international experience, and I learned more about various socio-economic and political issues in the world in a way that helped me understand the connections between developed and developing countries. It gave me new perspectives on how to address the existing problems and how to tackle them,” Dattatray Waghmare says.
Another foreign participant praised the conference in this way: “This is a great conference and I wish that all the conferences would be like these, a little bit smaller in scale, but well organised and more intimate."
Sanaya Singh wants to draw our attention to the International Bachelor's Program in Social Work at the University, which attracts senior lecturers, students, and others with an international background to Gävle.
“This programme is the primary reason why we were asked to host the conference. We also had an incredible group of student volunteers (all international) who contributed to the success of the conference. Some of them are now members of ICSD and will bring this experience back to their home countries.”