IFSW Members Surveyed

James Kelly and other NASW membersNASW President James Kelly, fourth from left in the back row, and other members attended IFSW meetings in Switzerland.

NASW President James Kelly and other NASW members attended an executive committee and special task forces meeting of the International Federation of Social Workers in Switzerland in June.

Kelly is the regional president of IFSW North America, which includes the U.S. and Canada.

The executive committee reviews the affairs of the federation between general meetings and determines program activities in accordance with the general policies adopted by the general meeting.

NASW member Michael Cronin, associate professor of social work at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, is an IFSW representative to the United Nations. He gave an annual report at the meeting concerning the team's efforts in the past fiscal year.

Cronin said team members and interns attended weekly briefings on topics relevant to the U.N. and associated non-government organizations. These briefings focused on issues such as rights of older people, the changing face of race, children in armed conflict and the challenges of peacekeeping.

"The executive committee, representatives, and task force members all give their time on a volunteer basis," Cronin said. "I am always impressed by their commitment to strengthening the image and impact of social work in the global context."

Also participating at the Switzerland meeting were former NASW presidents Gary Bailey and Suzanne Dworak-Peck.

Kelly said IFSW members are eager to take part in the 2010 Joint World Conference of Social Work and Social Development: The Agenda, being held in Hong Kong June 10-14. IFSW is joining the International Association of School of Social Work and International Council on Social Welfare in hosting the event. Kelly is on the conference planning committee, which aims to develop a refined focus for each organization's social work campaigns for the next decade. More than 2,100 social work professionals, academics and advocates are expected to participate.

In order to improve its operation, IFSW leaders conducted a membership organization survey at the organization's general meeting in Brazil in 2008. A summary of the results were available for review at the Switzerland meeting.

IFSW President David Jones noted that after more reviews by IFSW officials this year and early next year, organizers will make key decisions about the future strategy and makeup of the federation at the organization's general meeting, scheduled during the Hong Kong summit in 2010.

Some highlights of the survey:

  • A majority of respondents said IFSW needs to have a higher profile in order to better support its member organizations.
  • Most members believe IFSW provides a proper global perspective of the international social work community and issues.
  • IFSW offers good opportunities for networking and connecting people in the profession.
  • There should be more resources devoted to regional levels of the organization.
  • IFSW needs more professional staff in order to be most effective.

For more information, visit International Federation of Social Workers