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Yearly Archives: 2018

Remembrance Day Long Weekend Reflection

Peace walls11.11 at 11:11 in Canada in six time zones there is a yearly opportunity for everyone to reflect the meaning of Remembrance Day. Every human being on this planet is affected by the war in one way or another.  The recognition of sacrifice and acts of courage of those who bring peace to others should always be remembered and never forgotten. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Remembrance Day is an everyday reminder that human beings need to learn from history to not forget the tragedies of others. The history repeats itself, and in 2018 many people are still fighting to protect their homes, families, neighbours, and communities. Others are leaving their homes, families, neighbours, and communities to find asylum/refuge in new places internally and outside of their home countries. There are also those who are directly or indirectly supporting warfare, by continuously colonizing human spaces around the world, those who see the war as an opportunity to test new weapons, create more fear and insecurity on this planet and benefit financially from other human’s tragedies.

World War 1 ended on November 11, 1918, when the armistice was signed by Germany and the Allies at Compiègne, France. 2018 is a 100 anniversary year reminder about the War to End All Wars. However, a world where peace and love, not violence and hate, overcame differences, a world where all people were treated as equals, a world where justice always prevailed is still work in progress. Peace is a work in progress.

What needs to be built to create peace? This year I visited Belfast (Northern Ireland) where Peace Walls were built as a peace-keeping measure. Walls do not build peace; they simply separate people and ideas.  While the reasons for conflict are numerous, there is one certainty—that the only way to build peace in this world is to build bridges, not walls, among people by working together. The connection among people can help us to build peace. Let’s keep building bridges and finding ways to share resources, to love and care for others.

Lest We Forget!


International Social Work Conference in Dublin: TRU is represented on both student and faculty levels!

Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development held in Royal Dublin Society, in Dublin, Ireland from 4th  to 8th July, 2018. It is the largest and the most recognized international social work conference where up to 2,500 practitioners, researchers and educators from around the world join together to explore the latest developments in social work and social development. SWSD 2018 Scientific Programme explored “Environmental and Community Sustainability: Human Solutions in Evolving Society” in the context of the UN Goals for Sustainable Development, 2016 – 2030.

This year I had the honor to join the TRU Professor Emerita, Dr. Jeanette Robertson, and TRU social work student Ani Dingamtar to be part of the TRU team and share my research on using memoir assignment in teaching international social work course with global social work community. I also was invited to share my current research on mapping Schools of Social Work around the World in the second presentation during the conference.

Here is a brief photo report from the conference:


I was fortunate to attend a major international social work conference with my student. It was even more meaningful to be the only social workers who were born in Ukraine: I am from Western Ukraine and Ani from Eastern Ukraine. As an individual life member of the IASSW from Ukraine, I hope one day there will be stronger Ukrainian presence at the international events but for now, I will keep raising the concerns Ukraine face while being at war with the neighbouring state to maintain its current borders. I am thankful for TRUSU funding that allowed Ani to offset some of the conference course and my annual professional development fund that partially covered my participation at the conference.

International Conferences allow me to connect with social workers from around the world. It is also a reunion opportunity where I meet my colleagues from both Canada and internationally that I admire and learn from every day to keep inspiring my students.

Thank you all for your inspiration, ideas, connection. Already looking forward to the next 2020 conference in both Rimini, Italy and Calgary, Canada. Hope by 2022 the unity will be restored!

Sasha Kondrashov, PhD

TRU had the highest social work student representation at the 2018 CASWE Conference in Regina.

This year TRU School of Social Work and Human Services set a new record for bringing 8 social work students to share their research and interact with other students across Canada at the Canadian Association for Social Work Education Conference (CASWE). Usually, Schools of Social Work across Canada send up to 2 students to represent them at the National level. However, due to exceptional activism, strong research preparation and financial support from the TRUSU Conference Grant, five TRU students were selected to share their research with social work educators across Canada and three other TRU students joined them to learn about innovations in social work education across Canada. Together with 5 faculty members many of whom presented their research at the conference, TRU was visible at every conference event.

Here is a photo report on some of the many events both TRU students and faculty participated at the CASWE 2018 Conference in Regina.

On the first photo the annual TRU dinner celebration where Faculty and Students shared a meal together. Unfortunately, Dr. Bala Nikku and Dr. Silvia Straka were unable to join and one of the students, Jenna Skokberg, left earlier but the rest of the faculty Dr. Wendy Hulko, Dr. Rebecca Sanford, Dr. Sasha Kondrashov as well as the Dean of Academic Partnership & Development from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology Tim Dueck and 7 students stayed till the end.IMG_5799

TRU students and faculty in addition to attending all conference events also visited the Justice for Our Stolen Children protest camp on the lawn in front of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and show support to the protesters by listening to their stories and participating in the camp evening activities.IMG_5953.JPG Both TRU students and faculty shared their research during multiple oral presentations. TRU students, Catherine and Carmen, completed a comprehensive literature review and offered a number of recommendations on harm reduction strategy for BC fentanyl crises during the harm reduction roundtable organized by the Social Policy and Advocacy Committee.


Graduating TRU students, Teresa and Jessica, attended the Disability Caucus and presented their research on transportation options for disabled people in Kamloops



Jenna and I had a pleasant discussion with the dean of University of Calgary, Dr. Jackie Sieppert, about the upcoming 2020 International Social Work Conference that will be held in Calgary and hope we will have a strong TRU international presence there too.


Students and faculty supported each other during presentations. I was extremely happy to see such a welcoming crowd during my presentation on the unique Social Policy assignment I use to inspire students in Canadian Social Policy course. Special thanks to the EDSW Associate Dean Dr. Jane Hewes and Director of the School of Social Work from Dalhousie University Dr. Judy McDonald for your presence.


Overall, I had a lot of fun and hope we will be able to bring even more students from TRU to 2019 CASWE conference at UBC Vancouver. Having an experience sharing knowledge and being part of the National social work movement opens new doors for many TRU students in preparing them for the professional career. TRU Faculty of Education and Social Work, School of Social Work and Human Services always takes a leading role in driving social work student research that will benefit the development of social work education in Canada and around the world.

Here are some more fun photos from the CASWE 2018 conference

As next year I took an additional role for being a CASWE member of the nomination committee, after having experience at the EDSW nomination committee, I will keep inspiring more TRU students to attend CASWE and share their exceptional research with others.  See you in Vancouver!

Sasha Kondrashov, PhD