The 2017 M.C. “Terry” Hokenstad International Lecture at CSWE’s 63rd Annual Program Meeting was given by Dr. Manohar Pawar, Professor of Social Work at the Charles Sturt University in Australia and President of the International Consortium for Social Development. “Kant, Bentham, Aristotle and my Grandmother: Developing the ‘caring being’ in social work” reflects on his life and work experiences, the bases of social work, and the overall contemporary societal context.
His lecture considers whether social work, and social workers, have reduced the necessary focus on caring. In particular, the growing ageing population in some parts of the world and similarly dependent vulnerable groups appearing to be seriously missing out on essential care. This growing phenomenon suggests a need to critically re-examine the evolving social processes and the bases of social work.
Dr. Pawar argues that the current balance within social work must be consciously modified towards a greater emphasis on human caring in all its pervasiveness. If we do not create opportunities and incentives to develop caring practices and do not contribute to creating caring societies, we shall not only allow our practice to leave much to be desired, but also may find a deep sense of emptiness in social work’s and social workers’ hearts.