Social workers without borders: Challenges to building partnerships. Learning from a PNG/Australian social work education relationship

Dunstan Lawihin, Catherine Flynn, John K. Kamasua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Although there are contentious debates concerning the nature of international and globalised social work, there is considerable evidence that Schools of Social Work Education are actively engaged in cross-border collaborations. Whilst this is occurring and although Social work as a professional discipline exists in diverse contexts across the globe, experiences and voices from the South Pacific have had limited attention. Building on ‘data’ drawn from the literature and a discussion of international social work, this paper reflects on a collaboration occurring between an Australian social work education program and one in Papua New Guinea. We review and describe a model that is based on transparent, collaborative relationships between equal, although different, partners. We continue to work on how to encourage louder voices from UPNG, but we conclude that focusing on long-term outcomes, built on small steps, offers a framework for meaningful and sustainable cross-border engagements in social work education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-231
Number of pages12
JournalPacific Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Social Work
  • social work education
  • Collaboration
  • Partnership
  • Australia
  • Papua New Guinea

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