Council on Global Social Issues

The Council on Global Social Issues (CGSI) is a council of the Commission on Global Social Work Education of CSWE. The specific charges of the council are outlined below:

  • To educate CSWE membership on emerging and existing global and international social issues and their relevance to social work practice through CSWE newsletters and other publications
  • Explore policy implications and identifying teaching issues
  • To contextualize global macro issues, guidelines for local communities, promotion of community guidelines, nontraditional issues
  • Contextualizing global and international issues for global practice and their relevance for local practice

Current Projects 

Panel on Migration as a Social Determinant of Health 

Panel discussion screenshot image

Social Work PhD student, Passion Ilea, hosted a panel discussion where migrant and refugee scholars discussed migration as a social determinant of health, and the implications of this lens for practitioners, researchers, and students.

Speakers included: Dr. Marciana Popescu, Dr. Megan Berthold, and Dr. Mitra Naseh

To access the full recording, click here

Below are a list resources discussed in the panel, additional readings, and Class discussion prompts. 

Resources Discussed: 

Additional Readings

Suggested Class Discussion Prompts: 

  1. What challenges might you run into in your work with migrants and refugees?
  2. How can institutional policies in your workplace be changed to better serve migrant participants? 
  3. How can you prioritize participant voice and choice in your practice with migrants and refugees? 
  4. How can you imagine social institutions changing in reaction to global migration? How should these changes affect social work practice? 
  5. What is something you feel you need to learn more about after watching his panel? How would you learn about it? 

2021–2022 Student Competition

CGSI has awarded two $500 grants to encourage social work students to use their macro social work skills. The two winning projects provide  opportunities to distribute global social work content. In their projects, students were encouraged to share their ideas and educate social work programs on emerging and existing global and international social issues and their relevance to social work practice.

Award Winners

Passion Ilea
Passion Ilea is a PhD student at Portland State University's School of Social Work. Her research interests include equity, health care, migration, and pedagogy. She aims to reduce inequity and promote wellness in health care systems at a structural, socioeconomic level.

Autumn Henry

Autumn Rae Henry is junior year student at Texas Christian University completing her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)  Degree.


Past Projects

2018–2019 Joint Special Project

The Global Commission and the Council on Global Social Issues received CSWE special project funding to support the development of Transforming Community, an online educational platform for social workers, policy makers, and community-based service providers about the relevance of social work practice in working with refugees. Using a human rights perspective and a relational-cultural lens, the website offers 12 curriculum modules, videos, photographs, and classroom activities focused on current refugee resettlement practices in Germany.

Visit Transforming Community for more information.

Refugee Summit (2017)

Through CSWE special project funding, the Council on Global Social Issues organized a meeting to enhance social workers’ understanding of the ongoing refugee crisis and strategies to prevent such crises from occurring. Project activities included creating a video and organizing a meeting involving leading experts in the field. The meeting, titled Seeking a Safe Haven: Refugee Summit, was held October 2, 2017, at the University of North Texas. The event brought together refugee-assisting agencies, individuals with refugee experience, student organizations, and prominent scholars from various disciplines to develop a critical understanding of the conditions of global refugee populations. The Refugee Summit is an exemplary model of community organizing for refugees, and the video can be used to explore themes such as school social work’s role in the integration of refugee children, sustainable resettlement, and factors that contribute to cultural humility and community receptibility to refugees. 

Informational Briefs

International Post Disaster Recovery and Relief: Why Social Work Matters (2016)

In 2016 the Council on Global Social Issues organized a forum on international postdisaster recovery and relief, held at the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission to the United Nations. The forum, titled International Post Disaster Recovery and Relief: Why Social Work Matters, brought together not only leading policy experts on disaster management, but also social work educators and practitioners who were specialized in disaster risk reduction measures. The forum provided participants opportunities for in-depth discussions. These discussions helped social work students understand international disaster recovery and relief management and why social work response is vital to long-term efforts to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. Click here to view the video from the forum.



  • Mashkhura Akilova


    Columbia University

  • Robert Barney

    Associate Professor & MSW Program Director

    Stockton University

  • Ciji Blue


    University of Pennsylvania

  • Kala Chakradhar

    Associate Professor

    Murray State University

  • Caleb Kim

    MSW Director & Associate Professor

    Loyola University Chicago

  • Abha Rai

    Assistant Professor & Associate Director, Center for Immigrant and Refugee Accompaniment (CIRA)

    Loyola University Chicago

  • Bonita Sharma

    Doctoral Student

    University of Texas at San Antonio

  • Vivien Villaverde

    Assistant Clinical Professor

    University of Southern California