Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
Convocation is a critical moment to celebrate yourself, people who influenced your decision to start, continue and finish your learning journey and who inspire you to continue sharing your gifts and talents with the world. Class 2021 know that social work is essential. We recently celebrated social work month around the globe, where we recognize the criticality of social work services in times of pandemic and beyond. Social workers are seen as essential by many people for supporting them in meeting their everyday needs like water, air, land, and fire are essential for supporting life on Mother Earth. Access to social workers ensures that societal needs can be met. Social workers are everywhere where they are needed to support members of our societies. However, their work is often invisible as they connect with groups whose concerns are usually unvoiced. For people who do not have supports, having access to social workers means a world to them. Every day professional social workers respond to human needs and make services accessible, available, adequate, appropriate, affordable, acceptable, appreciative, applicable and awesome!
Today, when we celebrate Class 2021, I want to Thank You, social work graduates, for completing your degrees. Now you are ready to share your newly acquired knowledge in ever-changing moments of crisis and uncertainty with love, care, and professional commitment to service. You will be making our communities safe, calm, and kind and helping other human service professionals ensure that everyone can receive the support they need. You will practice ethically and ensure that dignity and worth, social justice, service to humanity, competence, confidentiality, and integrity are valued for every human being in your professional work.
In the last two years, we learnt that public health emergencies imposed additional personal and professional constraints on our lives, our ability to practice and study social work. Social workers are human beings, not superheroes, and we also need love and care to share our knowledge and skills. Thank you to all who supported our social work graduates to allow time to study so now you can provide the best possible social work professional services in our communities. We can only work together to create meaningful change and meet human needs.
As class 2021, you all experienced the unique challenges remote learning presents to students to receive their degrees. Remote learning and teaching is possible, but it requires special skills and supports that now everyone had an opportunity to experience due to the global pandemic. The most important is that remote programs offer more accessibility to students who otherwise might never have a chance to join the university community. As a 2021 social work graduate, you will join the global social work professionals team and keep caring, sharing, and loving your work with the knowledge you have to make the world a better place to live for everyone.
Keep learning and sharing your knowledge. Your social work program prepared you for professional practice. Enjoy the professional social work journey. Celebrate your achievements, build networks, coalitions and bridges; remove barriers, walls, and injustices. Continue learning from your experiences. Congratulations, class 2021! Enjoy the journey that is unfolding in front of you.