The International Federation of Social Workers Executive Committee unanimously selected Rory G. Truell as the organization’s new secretary-general at its June meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
For the last four years, Truell has been the chief executive officer of the New Zealand Social Services Industry Training Organization.
Gary Bailey, former NASW president and current IFSW president, said Truell brings extensive experience and a positive vision for the future of IFSW, which represents 90 national social work member organizations across the globe.
“We believe that in Rory Truell we have found an incredible leader and someone who will play an integral role in elevating the awareness and recognition of professional social work worldwide,” Bailey said. “We are delighted that he has agreed to bring his immense skills and talents to IFSW and I look forward to our working together to elevate the stature of global social work.”
James Kelly, former NASW president and executive committee member of IFSW, participated in the search committee for the secretary-general.
“I was impressed with Rory’s Northern Ireland background, his social work practice experience and his training experience in New Zealand,” Kelly said. “I believe he will bring vision, dedication and skill to IFSW.”
According to the IFSW, Truell’s career spans a number of years in the human services sector and he is a respected social work leader locally, nationally and internationally.
The New Zealand Social Services Industry Training Organization is the third major organization he has led, having served previously as executive director and professor of social work at the Te Wananga o Aotearoa and as chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Training in Social Services.
Born in Northern Ireland, Truell has also been a conflict management educator, a senior lecturer in counseling and social work at the Central Institute of Technology, and a senior social worker and community coordinator in the New Zealand cities of Wellington and Auckland.
Truell started his new role with IFSW in July. As secretary-general, he is the senior paid chief executive officer of the federation.
Also at the IFSW Executive Committee meeting in June, members attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the Irish Association of Social Workers.
Mary McAleese, the president of Ireland, spoke at the event and said it is difficult to measure the effect social workers have had on the lives of individuals, families and society, according to a story published in the Irish Times newspaper.
“However, we do know that over the 40 years since this association was founded, the impact of your work has been life-altering and life-enhancing for many people,” McAleese said. “You have educated our society about social justice and you have vindicated the need for supportive interventions in lives that are beset by great difficulties.”
In other international social work news, Tony Widmer, board member of the Union of Social Workers and Social Pedagogues of Russia, has been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Widmer was honored for his work in “UK/Russia cooperation in social care.”
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Widmer met with the delegation from Russia at the IFSW conference in Glasgow. As a result, UK Charity and The Russian European Trust for Welfare Reform were formed and their union has resulted in nearly 20 years of cooperation between UK and Russian social workers, according to IFSW.
Widmer’s efforts have earned him state awards from the governments of Russia and Kyrgyzstan as well as honors from many regions of Russia.