March 11, 2022

The University of Washington School of Social Work strongly condemns Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. We stand with the leaders and people of Ukraine, and with all people across the globe who actively oppose this naked act of aggression and who agitate for immediate peace. We support those who protest the war in the streets of Russian cities, at great personal risk. We extend our deepest sympathies to all people whose lives have been stricken by this violence, including our Ukrainian and Russian students, staff and faculty at the University of Washington.

In addition to death and disablement of civilians and soldiers and the destruction of cities and communities across Ukraine, Putin’s war is predicted to create the largest flow of refugees in Europe –over four million—since World War II. War affects all it touches, but evidence suggests differential and especially deleterious impacts on children. The witnessing of unspeakable violence, disruption of family bonds, and destruction of a sense of safety and security have devastating effects on the health, mental health and well-being of children from war zones. These traumatic effects have long term, cascading effects across the lifespan.

We therefore join national social work organizations and other groups in calling on the US, NATO, and nations across the world to:

  • Employ all possible diplomatic, economic, material and financial means to bring an immediate end to the war in Ukraine;
  • Provide swift, generous, and ongoing humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and to all refugees fleeing the war zone, regardless of race, religion or country of origin; and
  • Advance democracy, the rule of law, a free and independent press, and human rights across the globe.

As social workers and world citizens we can help by providing financial support through external organizations. The UW Combined Fund Drive provides links to reputable charities supporting the Ukrainian people.

As a school community, we extend support to all our students, staff and faculty affected by this tragedy. We recognize that this is a stressful time and students may want to connect with the UW Counseling Center or Lev Cunningham (, the School’s student mental health counselor. Faculty and staff can find support through UW CareLink.