Gary Bailey Gives Inaugural IFSW Presidential Address

June 16, 2010

Gary Bailey gave his inaugeral address to the General Assembly of the International Federation of Social Workers this week in Hong Kong. IFSW represents social workers from 90 countries around the globe.

Gary began his remarks by noting that IFSW is a global community of friends who show mutual respect for each other and for the profession of social work around the world Gary emphasized that he stands on the shoulders of giants and outstanding social work leaders like Dr. Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr.

Gary said he felt quite humbled to be given such a leadership opportunity, and he quoted Civil Rights legend Whitney Young when he assumed his new role: “The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to someone else.. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.”

A Past-President of NASW, Gary is the first African-American president of IFSW. He said he is used to “firsts” and described his heritage as a major factor in his achievements. He noted that as the great-grandson of slaves, and as the son of parents who worked under very difficult and harsh conditions in the south, Gary learned both the need and the obligation to help others. He ended his address with his favorite quote by Tagore: “I dreamt of joy. I acted and behold, service was my joy.”

Two previous NASW leaders held the office of IFSW President. Chauncey Alexander, an Executive Director of NASW, and Susan Dworak Peck, a former President of NASW, both played pivitol roles in the development and advancement of international social work. Sue Peck is the lifetime Ambassador to IFSW, and she was present at the meeting. Current NASW President Jim Kelly and NASW Executive Director Betsy Clark also attended the event.

NASW congratulates Gary on this wonderful achievement.

For more information about IFSW, please visit

One comment

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