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Respected Scottish social worker to head IFSW

A former head of the Scottish Association of Social Work has been elected as the new President of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).

Ruth Stark was elected at the General Meeting of IFSW in Melbourne, Australia and will serve as President for four years.

Ruth was Manager of the Scottish Association of Social Work (part of BASW) for 14 years until she retired in October 2013. In the Queen's Birthday Honours List last year, she was awarded an MBE for services to social work in Scotland.

Ruth said: “It is a great honour to be elected to the post of President of IFSW, the international body that links practitioners across the world. There are many challenges ahead but we all share one common purpose, using our skills, knowledge and expertise to help people achieve positive change in their lives.”

Ruth began her career as a criminal justice social worker in 1972 and has worked for over 40 years with people with mental health problems, troubled children and families, and migrants and asylum seekers.

A staunch advocate on behalf of the rights of children, she has worked as a safeguarder in the children's hearings system for more than 20 years. She was appointed Human Rights Commissioner for IFSW in 2008 and later became its Global Human Rights Officer.

Chair of BASW Guy Shennan said: “I am delighted to hear that Ruth Stark has been elected as President of the IFSW, a crucial role given the increasing international dimension of social work.

“I look forward to BASW working closely with Ruth and the International Federation in the years ahead.”

Bridget Robb, Chief Executive of BASW, said: "Ruth was nominated by BASW, having had a distinguished career as a member of our staff and in the development of social work in Scotland. We wish her well in her new role."

Trisha Hall, Manager of SASW, added: "This is a great achievement for Ruth, for BASW and for social work in Scotland. Ruth has worked tirelessly to promote best practice and highlight what social workers achieve in supporting the users of our services in many different ways."

IFSW supports 116 countries in striving for social justice, human rights and social development through the promotion of social work, best practice and international cooperation. BASW is due to host the Federation's European Seminar in Edinburgh in September 2015.