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Timeline :: International Committee of Schools of Social Work founded

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The International Committee of Schools of Social Work had its origins in the planning of, and discussions at, the First International Conference of Social Work.  Delegates from the training section at this conference decided to form an organisation which would promote social work education.  The first meeting of the Committee was held in Berlin in June 1929, with delegates from seven European countries attending.  Membership of the Committee grew quickly and by 1939 it had 75 member schools.  The Committee's early focus was on organising and sponsoring events to promote social work education, and international collaboration so that ideas and experiences could be shared.  One early piece of important work was the creation of the Centre of Documentation for the School of Social Work in 1929.  Over the next 10 years the Centre worked, alongside the International Labour Office, to collect and document information about the various Schools of Social Work in operation at the time.  The Committee also worked to forge links with international organisations, such as the League of Nations.  Unfortunately the outbreak of the Second World War severly hampered the work of the Committee, as international collaboration became very difficult.

After the end of the war the Committee re-established itself and in 1947 it was granted NGO status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  The years following the Second World War saw a vast expansion in the demand for social workers and social work education quickly developed in Asia and Africa.  As partnerships developed with these schools the work of the Committee became truly global.  In 1956 it changed its name to the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW).  

Sources: Cox, D. and Pawar, S. (2006) International Social Work: Issues, Strategies and Programs, SAGE: London  

Healy, L. M. (2011) 'International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)' in Healy, L. M and Link, R. J. (eds.) Handbook of International Social Work: Human Rights, Development and the Global Professions, Oxford Scholarship Online