Keynote Speakers - Dr. Robert L Hawkins

Dr. Robert L Hawkins

Assistant Dean & McSilver Endowed Chair in Poverty Studies
New York University Silver School of Social Work
United States


Dr. Robert L. Hawkins is the Assistant Dean & McSilver Endowed Chair in Poverty Studies at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. He received his PhD in social policy with an emphasis on low-income families and children from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2002. Dr. Hawkins has expertise in poverty and welfare, social capital use and development, race and social policy, community participatory research with mixed methodologies, and social policy analysis. He also has extensive programming, research, and teaching expertise in race and racism, gender studies, diversity, oppression, and privilege. Dr. Hawkins has approached the study and understanding of poverty from many perspectives. He conducted research with low-income families in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, engaged in in-depth studies with single mother-led households, and led international work in poor communities in the Philippines. Dr. Hawkins’ current research focuses on the idea of poverty as trauma, and addresses the link between social position, negative life events, and social capital usage among low-income people and families. He is particularly interested in the structural, sociological, and psychological barriers faced by low-income people trying to make a successful transition from poverty and welfare to positions of economic sustainability.

Dr. Hawkins came to NYU from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and Department of Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University. He also has consulted and served on the social work faculties of numerous colleges and universities, including Boston College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He has teaching and research experience at Brandeis University, Duke University, and the Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Hawkins has been an administrator and trainer in agencies addressing family needs for both children and older adults. He has worked with the Family & Children’s Resource Center and the Center for Aging Research and Educational Services in North Carolina, the American Geriatrics Society in New York City, People for the American Way, and the University College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. He served as an ethnographic researcher with Welfare, Children, and Families, a three-city longitudinal study lead by researchers from Harvard University, University of Texas-Austin, Penn State University, and Brandeis University. This study examined in detail the lives of low-income single mothers, their neighborhood and community networks, and how the women survive under welfare reform. In addition, Dr. Hawkins has served as an adviser and consultant for numerous other community, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. He speaks, writes, and presents nationally and internationally on a range of related topics.

In addition to his doctorate, Dr. Hawkins holds a master’s degree in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, a Master’s in Public Administration from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

Dr. Peter Abrahamson

Sociology at University of Copenhagen

Peter Abrahamson is associate professor of Sociology at University of Copenhagen in Denmark. 2009 – 10 he was professor of social policy at Seoul National University in South Korea. His research interests revolve around comparative studies of welfare state issues: poverty, social exclusion, activation, spatial differentiation, regional integration and care services. 2006 to 2008 he lived in and worked on Central America, and before that he worked on Europe based at University of Copenhagen. He is co-author of Welfare and Families in Europe. Aldershot: Ashgate 2005 and co-editor of Understanding Social Policy in Europe. Taipei: Casa Verde Publishing 2008 and New Social Partnerships in Europe. Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Centre 2003. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Copenhagen and a Ph.D. in public administration from Roskilde University. He has published more than 200 papers in journals and books.

He has been a visiting scholar at Boston University, U C Berkeley, U C Davis, Sorbonne, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, University of York, University of Mannheim, University of Nantes, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies in Guatemala, Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth, Buenos Aires, and Asia Center, Seoul National University. He has been invited to present his research at universities in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Russia, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Latvia, Germany, the
etherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Canada, USA, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and India. His research is published in fourteen languages.

Ms. Hanaa Singer

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in
Sri Lanka

Ms. Hanaa Singer has served in UNICEF for over 26 years in both the development and humanitarian spheres. Graduated from the American University of Cairo with a BA in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Political Sociology. Also holds a diploma in “Planning and Management of Decentralized Development Projects” from Bradford University.

Ms. Singer led the UN Country Team of 22 Resident and Non-Resident UN Agencies and act as the representative of the UN Secretary-General in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Singer held several senior management positions in UNICEF offices across the world, including Associate Regional Director UNICEF Geneva, as well as, Country Representative for UNICEF Syria, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. She has led humanitarian programmes in Burundi and Haiti, and managed cross border humanitarian operations to Afghanistan and Iraq among other areas. She has close to 3 decades of experience with the UN.

During her years of experience in UNICEF she acquired solid experience in both development and humanitarian fields. She has over 15 years of senior management experience in Humanitarian contexts, Low income and Middle income countries as UNICEF Country Representative in Syria Nepal, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. Prior to this, she served as Regional Emergency Officer in the CEE/CIS, Senior Programme Officer in Haiti, OIC in Burundi, and Maldives. She has a proven track-record of strong representation, advocacy and influencing skills, bold decision making capacity, a strong drive for results and an ability to inspire and lead teams.