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Keynote Speaker

Gautam N. YADAMA
Gautam N. YADAMA
Dean, School of Social Work
Boston College, USA


Gautam N. Yadama is Professor and the Dean of Boston College School of Social Work, Boston College. His research is focused on understanding poverty and environment dynamics, and interventions to address the attendant social, economic, environment, and health outcomes. His research in China, funded by Kaufman Foundation, is directed at understanding the way rural communities in China engage in collective action and collaborate with the state in the supply and maintenance of quasi-public goods such as rural schools, health clinics, sanitation, and rural infrastructure. In India, he has implemented a randomized control trial to study the sustainability of new and efficient energy technologies in rural communities to reduce household air pollution and improve health and wellbeing of women and children. His book – Fires, Fuel & the Fate of 3 Billion: State of the Energy Impoverished (Oxford University Press) outlines an argument for transdisciplinary research to tackle complex problems such as household air pollution that reside at the intersections of poverty, environment, and health. He is a member of the Implementation Science Network on Clean Cooking (ISN) at the Fogarty Institute of the National Institutes of Health, USA. With support from ISN, he is conducting a social network analysis and community-based system dynamics to explore how interventions to reduce pollution are adopted and sustained by the poor in rural India. He is a commissioner on the recently released Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. The aim of the Commission is to reduce air, soil, and water pollution by communicating the extraordinary health and economic costs of pollution globally, providing actionable solutions to policy-makers and dispelling the myth of pollution’s inevitability.

Fourth Keynote
@ June 28, 14:00 - 15:00

Responding to Environment, Climate, and Community: Innovations in Social Work

Entrenched poverty, environmental crises, declining health of populations and ecosystems, and a crisis of governance erode social development. The poor are embedded in dynamic systems that are changing over time, and behaviors emerge from an underlying mechanism of feedback structures. Declining social and community institutions reinforce adverse livelihood, environmental and health outcomes for the next generation. These endogenous processes taken together with climate change only portend greater risk of declining social, health, and livelihood outcomes for many in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, billions of lives continue to be at peril from eroding environmental quality, energy and food insecurity, rising health disparities, and poverty of basic resources throughout Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The keynote will examine the implications for social development and social work practice innovation to address complex social challenges of our day. Such is the complex nature of social development in chronically poor vulnerable communities whose livelihoods are intertwined with ecosystem services in decline, compounded by new uncertainties from environment and climate risk.

Prof. Yadama’s insight will inspire us to tackle the imminent big challenges to human beings from both local and global perspectives. He has very strong track record in this areas, as evidenced by his impactful work in the United States, Chain and India. Findings from his multinational studies have significant implications to the future social work practice.



Moderator: Prof. Terry Yat-Sang LUM
Henry G Leong Professor in Social Work and Social Administration and Head, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong