Vishanthie Sewpaul


Vishanthie Sewpaul (PhD) was a Professor at Zayed University (UAE), and a Senior Professor at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (UKZN), where she remains an Emeritus Professor. She occupies a Professor 11 position at University of Stavanger, Norway. She was actively involved in several national structures on the cutting edge of policy and social work education in post-apartheid South Africa, and has occupied leadership positions at national, regional and global levels. Dr Sewpaul joined the Board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) in 2000 where she chaired several committees, including the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training Committee, the Global Social Work Definition Committee, and she currently chairs the Global Social Work Ethics Taskforce. She was a Vice-President on IASSW and President of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa. She was the President of the first ever non-racial professional association – the National Association of Social Workers, South Africa, and served as President of the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions. She was recently selected to serve on the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance of the Social Welfare Workforce. She has extensive teaching experience at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels; supervises Masters and PhD theses; has undertaken extensive field practice supervision; is widely published; serves as external examiner at several international institutions; has delivered numerous special lectures, and keynote and plenary addresses in many countries, and runs workshops for non-profit organisations on a voluntary basis. She was twice voted one of top 30 researchers at UKZN. In 2013, the Ministry of Science and Technology acknowledged her with a Distinguished Women in Science Award for her “outstanding contribution to building South Africa’s scientific and research knowledge base.” She received two honorary doctoral degrees – from Sweden and Chile, and was nominated as a Lead SA Hero for her contribution to student development, and to community development through direct interventions and though her teaching. Social work research, practice and teaching with a focus on social justice, human rights and emancipatory education remain her passion.

Keynote presentation title: Within the spheres of our influence:  Social work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)