OCTOBER 30, 2014
Margaret Lombe, PhD, arrived on the campus of the Boston College School of Social Work ten years ago this fall. Since then, she has developed a reputation as a leading researcher on poverty, food security, and social inclusion/exclusion. She has conducted evaluations for Non-Governmental Organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, OXFAM America, and Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks, and she serves as an ongoing consultant to the United Nations. But despite all of her success in the fields of research and international social development, it is her role as an educator and a mentor to a future generation of social workers that she says is her most cherished work.
In a recent conversation, Lombe discusses what the past ten years have meant to her, the imperative of training “globally-minded” social workers, and her latest research project on food security.
Good morning, Professor Lombe. Congratulations on ten years at BC Social Work. Give us a sense of what your time at BC has meant to you.
It has been a wonderful experience. I came here from Washington University in St. Louis, drawn to Chestnut Hill by Boston College’s emphasis on social justice. I have found BC Social Work to be a uniquely rich environment that has allowed me to grow.
When I came here, the global practice concentration was just an idea that we had, but the program has grown significantly. Now, every year, we have about 20 students who follow this specialized course of study, and our global practice alumni are leaders in the field in organizations across the world. Some have gone on to pursue PhDs in social work with a global focus. This has been rewarding to see.
Talk more about the need for “globally-minded” social workers in today’s world.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s possible to not have a global perspective in today’s world. For us as social workers, even those of us who might be working in a localized setting, we must realize that there are problems that we face that might appear to be isolated, but that in fact impact others living in communities across the world. We should always be open to finding solutions that can help as many people as possible. We can’t afford to not be global.