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Institute for Sustainable Global Engagement (ISGE) - University at Buffalo School of Social Work - University at Buffalo Skip to Content
Buffalo Center for Social Research

Institute for Sustainable Global Engagement (ISGE)

Filomena Critelli, Shraddha Prabhu (PhD student) and Laura Lewis travel to India, Fall 2013

The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Global Engagement (ISGE) is to promote and support global engagement, collaboration and professional action among social work faculty, students, graduates and staff.

Housed within the Buffalo Center for Social Research, ISGE brings together researchers and faculty with common interests, facilitating collaborations in research and expanding and developing educational and service opportunities that foster global engagement and rights based approaches to alleviating pressing social and economic challenges.

The Institute's activities include:

  • Cross-national research projects.
  • Globally focused research that advances trauma informed and human rights perspectives.
  • International scholarly exchanges and teaching collaborations.
  • Hosting special events focused on global social welfare and human rights.
  • International fieldwork, study abroad and service learning. 
  • Advocacy. 

Current projects

The Experience of Transnational Migration: The Effects of Separation on Individuals and Families

Migration is a truly global issue and one of the most complex and least understood social problems. This pilot study aims to explore what it means for individuals and families that are experiencing this disintegration, documenting issues that arise at the intersection of migration and family life. Results will be used to raise awareness and inform the development of higher education curriculum modules in Eastern Europe and the United States.

Funded by the International Association of Schools of Social Work

Teaching Resource

This online learning module is designed to facilitate skills for effective cross cultural communication and collaboration.  The very important concept of cultural humility is a central focus. Cultural humility entails acknowledging difference, and positioning ourselves as people interested in learning and understanding.  Cultural humility is particularly relevant to a trauma-informed, human-rights-based approach to social work practice; it underscores the dignity and value of the individual and empowers the client as expert in their experience.

This module can be used as a stand-alone resource for educators, students planning to study abroad or engage in international field work, faculty engaged in cross-cultural research and partnerships, human service practitioners, educators and any other interested parties.  

Because the process of self-reflection is so important for the development of cultural humility, sample reflection exercises are provided.  


Filomena Critelli, co-director, has a history of engagement in global social justice advocacy, social work within immigrant communities and a track record of research and publications on South Asia and migration issues.

Laura Lewis, co-director, has facilitated academic partnerships in Moldova and developed and supervised international field placements for MSW students in several countries including India, Macedonia, Thailand and Korea.

inSocialWork Podcast Series

Related topics on cultural competence and international social work.

inSocialWork is the podcast series of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

  • Episode 6
    • Karen Sowers: Social Work at its Roots: Using Microenterprise to Promote Health, Social Welfare, and Community Building Among Street Children in Indonesia
  • Episode 9
    •  Hilary Weaver: Culturally Competent Supervision          
  • Episode 11 
    • Shelly Wiechelt: Cultural and Historical Trauma: Affecting Lives for Generations
  • Episode 13
    • Erik Nisbet: International Conflict and Social Identity: The Influence of Mass Media on "Us vs. Them" Thinking
  • Episode 36
    • Dr. Claude Welch: Spotlight on Human Rights: Economic Rights in the United States
  • Episode 41
    • Dr. Elisabeth Reichert: Social Work and Human Rights
  • Episode 76
    • Patricia Shannon: Peeling the Fear from the Past: Building Community Capacities for Healing Refugee Trauma as a Human Rights Strategy
  • Episode 88
    • Manisha Joshi: Attitudes Toward Intimate Partner Violence Among Women in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan
  • Episode 101
    • Aster Tecle: Where is 'Home'? Interpreting Youth Discourse and the Politics of Displaced Youth
  • Episode 128
    • Md. Tuhinul Islam: Residential Childcare: The Experiences of Children in Bangladesh
  • Episode 140
    • Christin Mary: India's Invisible Maids: National Domestic Worker's Movement
  • Episode 142
    • Chandran Chetan: Action and Empowerment in India: National Domestic Worker's Movement
  • Episode 151
    • Arati Maleku: Human Migration in the21st Century: Implications for the Social Work Profession
  • Episode 153
    • Dr. Noel Busch-Armendariz and Laurie Cook Heffron: Modern Slavery: Social Work's Role in Addressing Human Trafficking
  • Episode 163
    • Ken Hermann and Susan Hermann: Social Work Education in Another Land: The Brockport Vietnam Project