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Timeline :: International Conference of Social Work meets


The first conference was held in Paris in July 1928; an organising committee had been established two years earlier in 1926 to plan the conference. Alice Salomon, founder of social work in Germany, was a member of the committeee and led the section on training for social work. Almost 2500 delegates attended from 42 countries. The conference led to the formation of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the International Conference on Social Welfare (ICSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).

The first meeting of the schools of social work took place the following year in Berlin in June 1929, attended by representatives from schools in Belgium, Germany, France, Britain, Poland, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia and a representative from the International Labour Office (ILO). Further conferences were held in 1932 in Frankfurt and 1936 in London; a fourth conference planned for 1940 was cancelled. By 1939, membership included 75 schools in 18 countries. IASSW did not meet during World War 2 and had to be rebuilt thereafter. Katherine Kendall presented the first United Nations Survey of Social Work Education at the IASSW Congress in Paris in 1950. In 1956, IASSW's journal International Social Work was launched.

The International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) also began in 1928, this time as the International Conference on Social Work, becoming the ICSW in 1966, and by 1980s, aligning itself more fully with the development movement.

The International Permanent Secretariat of Social Workers was also formed in 1928. Dissolved during WW2, the organisation reformed in the 1950s, emerging as the IFSW (International Federation of Social Workers) in 1956.


Cox, D. and Pawar, M.S. (2006) International Social Work: Issues, Strategies, and Programs, Sage.

Seibel, F.W. (2008) Global Leaders for Social Work Education: The IASSW Presidents 1928-2008, IASSW.