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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
20 November 2007

UNRWA relief and social services staff earn certificates in social work

To the sound of applause UNRWA congratulated today, 20 November, 55 of its relief and social services staff who completed the Certified Education Programme in Social Work from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), USA. The programme, which ran from 2004 to 2006, is designed to help social workers improve their effectiveness in addressing the needs of Palestine refugees.

Lisa Gilliam, Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria, welcomed Dr. James Bordieri and Dr. Sandra Rhoads from SIUC and thanked Hussein Soliman, the Director of the School of Social Work at SIUC for his efforts in making this course possible. Addressing the graduates, Gilliam noted that the course has been a major commitment of time and energy in addition to their usual work, and told them, “Your jobs, more than any other staff in UNRWA, place you on the front line of the Agency’s efforts to address the poverty and suffering of Palestine refugees. It is a difficult struggle as UNRWA's financial means of supporting refugees is ever more stretched.”

Dr. James Bordieri and Dr. Sandra Rhoads described the Certified Education Programme in Social Work as “an innovative and successful collaboration between an international humanitarian organization and a comprehensive university. Social Work is a profession for those with a strong desire to improve the lives of people.”

Southern Illinois University is the second-largest state university in Illinois (about 21,000 graduate and undergraduate students as of fall 2007), and has been involved in international education activities through linkage programs with institutions of higher learning in about 117 countries.

UNRWA is a humanitarian and human development agency providing education, health care, social services, micro-credit and emergency relief to over four million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza. In Syria, the Agency provides assistance to over 440,000 registered Palestine refugees.

For information only - Not an official record

Hala Mukhles
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