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Fordham MSW and MS Students Speak at the United Nations


Fordham Graduate School of Social Servicestudents represent different NGOs at the United Nations, and regularly participate in NGO committee meetings. They’re very involved in work with the NGO Committee on Migration, whose mission is to encourage the promotion and protection of migrants and their human rights, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. This is accomplished by educating its members and their organizations on the issues and policies related to all facets of global migration, encouraging UN bodies and agencies to include migration policies and issues in their planning and social policy considerations, acting as a forum to raise awareness of migration in a human rights framework, and finally to recommend appropriate policies in regard to migration.

Pictured above: Philip Gnaedig, MSW ’16, Sophia Treantafeles, MS’16, Elaine Congress, Fordham GSS Associate Dean, and Patrica Talisse, MSW ’16

Sophia Treantafeles, MS’16

The Advocacy and Implementation of Subcommittee of the Committee on Migration (COM) is a major committee that carries on the work of the Committee on Migration. Both Sophia Treantafeles and Philip Gnaedig are active on this subcommittee. At a recent COM meeting Sophia spoke about her work on the subcommittee in preparing  letters for mission visits that represent the voice and concerns of civil society in regards to the human rights of migrants.  She reported that the COM “would like to commend Bangladesh for taking action towards sustainable development and offer our support in continuing to be a leader in addressing the rights of migrants, while concurrently working to mitigate the major social, economic, and ecological root causes that make the country’s population highly vulnerable to exploitation. We commend the Cabinet and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for recent revisions and new inclusions to the guidelines for Welfare and Overseas Employment Policy, which focuses on increasing the safety of the massive migrant labor force.  We applaud Bangladesh for ratification of the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. We believe it is essential to increase programs that focus on educating nationals on their human rights, and increase policing of illegal migration activities. Bangladesh is hosting the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) this year with the theme of ‘Migration that Works for Sustainable Development of All: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda.’”

Philip Gnaedig, MSW ’16

Philip, who has his field placement with the International Federation of Social Workers, reported about the developments in refugee and forced migrant policy in Germany in connection to the current refugee crisis.  Chancellor Merkel has expressed a commitment to inclusive refugee measures despite mounting political pressure in light of recent criminal and security incidents that have been connected to migrant groups.  Germany has also made a commitment to addressing some root issues of the migration problem by pledging 2.3 billion Euros in aid to displaced Syrians, and an additional 570 million Euros to the World Food Program so that refugees can more adequately be served in neighboring Arab states.  The German government also continues its policy agenda of establishing a European-wide solution to the migration crisis so that it is not undermined by varying national policies.

Patrica Talisse, MSW ’16

Patricia Talisse, who serves as the Youth Representative for Close the Gap, a Belgian based NGO with the mission of bringing technology to developing countries, reported about her work on a proposed research study on young refugee children and their mothers who have been traumatized by war experiences. She spoke about why women and children are particularly vulnerable in conflict situations as the gender role shifts during conflict has led to a negative expression of masculinity. Patricia shared some information that she has learned through connection with local NGO’s inside Syria. This serves to increase our understanding of the true needs of those vulnerable population without our prior assumptions about  what type of programs are most effective in dealing with people in need.

Elaine CongressElaine Congress, DSW, LCSW
Associate Dean & Professor
Fordham University
Graduate School of Social Service
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023


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