In 2013 IFSW started a project to make the Federation’s archives more accessible to all social workers and researchers around the world. The archives contain information dating back to 1846 and IFSW papers from 1932 when the predecessor to IFSW was launched in France.
Using the tabs below, you will find access to historical documents, newsletters and photos:
Archives of documents sorted by decades
International Congresses/Conferences lead to a more established focus for international organisations representing social work and social workers.
Setting up of the International Permanent Secretariat of Social Workers (IPSSW) 1932 and then the start of the 2nd World War in 1939 (although related conflicts began earlier). This did not allow an international focus for the social work profession.
2nd World War involved virtually every part of the world ending 1945. IPSSW itself was a casualty of the war and its aftermath. An International Conference in 1948 began discussions to set up an international body to represent social workers and evolved into our current IFSW
1948: Letter to the American Red Cross informing about the status of interest in joining the Permanent Secretariat by France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Australia, Italy and Luxembourg
IFSW formally constituted in 1956 and was legally constituted the following year. This decade also involved the exploration of social work ethics, a focus on publications, particularly with the production of the journal International Social Work and consultative status with the UN being approved.
IFSW develops its own identity, holding its own World Conference, first European Seminar and first Regional Conference in Asia-Pacific and expanding its relationship with other international organisations.
Focus on membership activities with the suspension of South Africa membership and a major focus to activate African social work links to IFSW through the International Conference being held in Africa for the first time in Kenya in 1974. An increasing number of member countries joining IFSW and there is the setting up of a Permanent Secretariat in Switzerland.
The Definition of Social Work was formulated, together with the setting up of the Human Rights Commission. Increasing representation at United Nations level and participation in UN international events including the World Assembly on Ageing and the International Year of the Child. IFSW is declared a ‘Peace Messenger” by the UN in recognition of its international activities.
IFSW Secretariat returns to Switzerland from Norway. IFSW policy development is more evident, including the policy on HIV/AIDS and Social Work and a Manual on Human Rights and Social Work. IFSW is producing 3-4 newsletter yearly with member countries regularly reporting their home situation as well as reports from IFSW Representatives. There is increased co-operation with IASSW and ICSW. IFSW attends the significant UN World Summit for Social Development in 1995.
Reviews of documents results in the adoption of a new Definition of Social Work, new Statement of Ethical Principles, adoption of Global Qualifying Standards for Social Work and a new Constitution. An IFSW training manual on Social Work and the Rights of the Child is published in 2002. 50 years of IFSW was celebrated in 2006 at the World Conference in Munich. and funding was made available for regional development projects.
Archives of newsletters sorted by decades