‘The International Federation of Social Workers General Meeting, which closed on Monday 13 July 2020, demonstrated the ability of social workers to create triumph out of adversity’, said Silvana Martinez, President of IFSW. The General Meeting ran as an online process starting on Saturday 11 July 08.00 UTC concluding on Monday 13 July 22.00 UTC.
The meeting involved 226 members from 91 countries resulting in the largest and most inclusive General Meeting in the history of the Federation. ‘Delegates adapted quickly to this new form of General Meeting’, said IFSW Secretary-General Rory Truell. There was an impressive range of comments and lively debate on key policy issues. The sense of professional commitment and unity was highly visible and demonstrated the power of good relationships and the vitality of social work’, he concluded.
The outcomes of this General Meeting leave the Federation in a really strong position to advocate with even more determination for social justice and the recognition of social workers in all countries’, said Silvana Martinez.
Outcomes of elections for the executive
Silvana Martinez welcomed the following people onto The IFSW Global Executive:
- Sriganesh M V, Vice-President Asia-Pacific
- Mildred Joyner, Regional President North American
- Joan Davis-Whelan, Regional Vice President North American
- Victor Ivan Garcia-Toro, Treasurer (Re-elected)
- Noel Muridzo, Regional President Africa (Re-elected)
- Tania Maria Ramos, Regional Vice President Latin American and the Caribbean (Re-elected)
- Ana Radulescu, Regional President Europe (Re-elected)
They join the existing members of the Executive who continue to serve for a further two years until the next General Meeting:
- Joachim Mumba, Regional Vice President, Africa Region
- Rose Henderson, Regional President Asia-Pacific
- John Brennan, Regional Vice President Europe
- Larry Emil Alicea Rodríguez, Regional President Latin American and the Caribbean
Silvana Martinez thanked the outgoing executive members:
Kathy Wehrmann, Regional Vice President, North America, Jan Christianson-Wood, Regional President North America andIrene Leung, Vice President, Asia-Pacific
President Martinez further thanked all the nominees who stood in this election for their contribution to the democratic process and their commitment to IFSW: Abu Mansaray (George), Irene Leung and Liu Jing.
IFSW Education Commission formalised
The General Meeting decided to formalise the Education Commission as a permanent structure to advise the Executive and Federation on matters concerning qualifications of social workers and standards of education and training and to develop partnerships with educational networks to enhance the quality of social work education.
The Commission has worked in collaboration with the International Association of Schools of Social Work over the past two years to revise the joint statement of Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training. The revised statement was endorsed by the General Meeting (Link) and sets out minimum standards for social work education programmes as well aspirational measures to support the achievement of high academic and professional outcomes.
Establishment of an Indigenous Commission within the structure of IFSW
The General Meeting decided to establish a permanent Indigenous Commission to ensure that the contributions of indigenous social workers are recognised across the Federation. ‘This new Commission will strengthen the voice of indigenous social workers within the Federation’, said Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General, ‘and will help IFSW to learn from indigenous knowledges as well as enabling the Federation to address the profession´s histories where indigenous rights were denied.
New members were welcomed
National social worker organisations from the following countries were welcomed into formal membership of IFSW:
- Republic of the Congo – National Association of Social Workers of the Republic of Congo.
- Jordan – Jordan Association for Social Work
- Mexico – National Federation of Mexican Collegium of Social Work
These countries join a global Federation now comprising 144 Members.
Social work and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to the SDGs. It was agreed that a policy paper will be facilitated by the executive to highlight the essential role of social workers in fulfilling social development goals and supporting multilateral partnerships.
At the successful conclusion of this historic online Meeting, Silvana Martinez and Rory Truell commented: “The profession has achieved big leaps forward in this General Meeting. The online environment enabling all our members to participate has shown that we have the ability to overcome timezone and language challenges as well as building a more inclusive democratic decision-making process”.