Published on : January 31, 2023
I am honored and blessed to join my beloved Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) family in the quest to forward social and economic justice as a value proposition of social work education. My name is Halaevalu. I was born in Tonga and raised in Hawai’i on the north shore of O'ahu. I am the daughter of Moana and Faleola Ofahengaue, immigrants who ingrained in me the value of higher education as a way to give back and pay forward. I am also the proud mother of Tu’ihakavalu, a brilliant spirit who is shaping all that I am becoming. I am the investment of so many of you, mentors, friends, colleagues, and just beautiful people and communities who lifted for and with me—thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I feel a sense of deep gratitude for the mana of my Pacific ancestors and lands of Indigenous peoples that have nurtured, protected, and blessed my life. I am grateful for the people and transformational experiences I gained as a student at Brigham Young University (BYU)–Hawai’i, University of Hawai’i–Manoa, and University of Utah in those foundational years. I am also blessed by the amazing communities in which I have lived since and the six university systems (New Mexico State University, BYU–Hawai’i, San Francisco State University, George Mason University, Morgan State University, Hawai’i Pacific University) that have shaped me as an educator and scholar—experiences which I am able to bring to the CSWE table. I am also deeply grateful for CSWE’s 70 years of extraordinary history, the giants on whose shoulders I stand and who have positioned me for this new journey, and the dream team I have inherited. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.”
So, as we embark on this new journey, we will honor our strong foundation and continue to build, taking CSWE to the next level with a commitment to increase and strengthen our brand, visibility, representation, and financial sustainability—We invite YOU to join us in this endeavor! Join us on Spark! Subscribe to and read our weekly newsletter, Compass! Connect with us at the 2023 Annual Program Meeting (APM), October 26–29 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, for “It’s Time to Act: Defining and Reckoning with Anti-Racist Social Work Education.” (And don’t miss the call for proposals for APM!) And if you’re ever in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area, please stop by our office at 333 John Carlyle, Alexandria, VA, for a chew and chat.
With much respect,
Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi
President/CEO, Council on Social Work Education