Unbenanntes Dokument


For more than two-thirds of the life of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), Katherine Kendall has been among its leaders. She began her involvement in 1950, served as the first paid Secretary General of the Association in the 1970's and, now in her late 90's, continues to share her wisdom as Honorary President. Beginning in 1950, she attended all the IASSW congresses except 2 (1990 and 1998) until 2004, when health issues prevented long international trips. She personally knew and worked with every President except the first. Thus, although the IASSW began with sustained involvement and contributions of two remarkable founders, Alice Salomon and René Sand, Kendall has surpassed all in terms of her enduring commitment to international social work education and its professional organization. Kendall's remarkable professional career spans 7 decades. Her international involvements began even earlier. This article will focus on highlights of her international career, especially her IASSW service. It will also discuss her formative years and mention other aspects of contributions. Materials for the article are drawn from published and unpublished interviews conducted by other scholars, Kendall's own writings, and a personal interview conducted by the author in 2007.

Early Years

Katherine A Kendall was born Katherine Anne Tuach on September 8, 1910 in Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, Scotland and her memories are of a mostly idyllic childhood. Her parents were Anne Scot Walker and Roderick Tuach. She spent her first 10 years in a rose-covered cottage. Although it had roses, the cottage had no indoor plumbing and no heating in the upstairs bedrooms. The bedrooms were very cold in the winter and the family practically lived in the kitchen, the warmest room. To Katherine, this meant many happy memories of the family gathered together. A big tub was brought into the kitchen on Saturday nights for baths. She was bathed first as she was the only girl. The water was pumped in from the sink by a hand pump.

Katherine's father was one of 12 children, and, like his father, was a builder, skilled in stone work and carving for houses and churches. Katherine's mother, with a passion for music, sang beautifully and had a little organ in the parlor to which she would retreat whenever she could. Much to her dismay, none of her children were musical. Katherine had 3 brothers, 2 older and 1 younger. There were many cousins and Katherine has survived all of them. Her last cousin died in 2006.

In a recent interview, Kendall shared many memories of the cottage and its surroundings. The cottage, related to a manor house, had a wonderful location on a road that wound high up in the hills. She and her brothers used to walk up the road to pick “brambles” (blackberries) and wild raspberries. They had to be sure to pick enough to make jam and to compensate for all they would eat on the way home. There was a long walk down the hill to the village and the school and an even longer walk beyond the village to the big house built by her Grandfather that served as the center for all family activities. She recalled on how much they depended in the years of World I on the gardens surrounding the cottage. One was devoted to vegetables, with potatoes, turnips, cabbages, and carrots were staples. Another combined red and black currents and gooseberries, and green vegetables. It was an ideal rural setting.


Katherine's father immigrated to Canada in 1913 to take advantage of a land grant near Edmonton in Alberta Province. The family was to follow when he had settled in and built a house. World War I upset those plans and changed the course of their lives. Because of his experience as a Seaforth Highlander (a famous Scottish regiment), he was asked to help organize a Scottish regiment for the Canadian army. In an early battle at Ypres, he rescued his commanding officer as well as other men wounded in no-man’s land. Then, he was shot in the leg, leaving it stiff with a knee that could never be bent.

After a long period in a hospital in England, where he was decorated with one of Britain’s highest military medals, he was sent back to Canada and reassigned as head of the Canadian Mission in Chicago. His job was to recruit Scots and other British subjects visiting or residing in the United States, which had not yet entered the War. Katherine said his disability prevented him from sporting the kilt he had worn so proudly, but with a bagpiper and kilted associates, he fulfilled his assignment. Deciding that Chicago offered a better future for the family than Edmonton, he gave up the land in Canada. Katherine has learned since of the discovery of a vast oil field in what she thinks is the area where they would have lived, but has no regrets over a possible lost fortune. The family emigrated to Chicago in 1920 when she was 10.

The Migration Experience

It was difficult to leave Scotland. The entire village turned out to say goodbye to them. Katherine remembers the auction of the furniture from the cottage with family weeping as well-loved possessions disappeared. She hated leaving her school, her village, her grandparents, her many aunts, uncles, and cousins. On their way to boarding the ship, she tasted tomatoes for the first time. For years after that, she would not eat tomatoes because of their association with the pain of leaving Scotland.

Katherine doesn't remember too much about the ship which docked in Quebec or Montreal, where they boarded a train to Chicago. Her father had rented a house on the north side, located across from a noisy car barn and it was not long before they moved to a quieter, permanent home on the south side. The first time she went out on one of the major streets on the north side, she was amazed to see all the lights - lights everywhere. Other wonders were the indoor plumbing, especially water coming out of the faucet and the delicious discovery of unknown fruit, particularly grapes.

About her childhood, Katherine remembers that from an early age she was always described as having “her head in a book“ and usually got books for presents. She didn't have much use for dolls. Her mother kept all her report cards with every subject marked excellent or excellent plus. “I must have been something of a nerd,” she commented. “I loved school in the US except when teachers marked wrong words with British spelling such as honour and didn’t explain why.” She does remember that she was seen as “different” in part because her mother had made all new clothes in the style of school uniforms in Scotland and because of her accent. Highlanders do not have a special dialect but there is a definite lilt that she worked hard to change.

Katherine's father never became a U.S. citizen, as when he went to apply, they had no record of the entry that had been arranged by the Canadian army. He never got around to making the return trip to Canada that would have allowed him to reenter legally. During the depression, when there was no work in Chicago, he returned to Scotland where he was needed in the family business. Her mother insisted on a home with a modern kitchen and bathroom. He delivered--complete with hot water--and she joined him. This marked the beginning of a long period of close communication and family visits with the Scottish relatives which continues to the present.

Katherine became a U.S. citizen in 1940. She began her application in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When the time came for her final papers, she was summoned to return to Baton Rouge. She was living at the time in Green Hall at the University of Chicago where Sophonisba Breckinridge had an apartment as a resident. Ever alert to laws and regulations needing reform, Breckinridge declared that citizenship was a federal matter and any federal court should be able to issue final papers. She was keen to make this a test case and asked Katherine to delay her departure. Katherine knew that once Breckinridge got involved, she might never become a citizen so quietly she went back to Baton Rouge, took the oath, and ultimately made her peace with Breckinridge.

Education and the Search for a Profession

After high school, Katherine entered the University of Illinois, where she studied romance languages, history and philosophy with the intention of becoming a foreign correspondent (Beless 2004). Both love and the social environment derailed her initial plans. At Illinois, she met Willmoore Kendall, a young assistant professor who was her Spanish teacher. He was only a year older but, as a boy prodigy, he had already earned a bachelor and master’s degree and was working on his doctorate. They became engaged and after graduating with her BA in 1933, she went to England, where she had an uncle and he had a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford.

Having worked for her degree in the early 1930s, the depression also had its impact. Katherine describes the next few years of her life as a time of the awakening of a strong social conscience and a time of searching for a professional role. She and Ken (as he was called) were married in London in 1935, and then went to Madrid, where he had accepted a position as a foreign correspondent with the United Press. They associated with left-leaning students and tutors at Oxford and became involved with supporters of the United Front in Spain (Billups 2002). It was also during this period that Katherine read Upton Sinclair's book, The Jungle. Its stark portrayal of human exploitation, set in her beloved Chicago, strengthened her resolve to dedicate herself to social justice.

After a victory of the United Front in Spain in 1936 the Kendalls left, convinced that democracy would rule there, and returned to academic life at the University of Illinois. As Katherine explained to an interviewer: “My exposure to the social movements of the 1930s and the causes they supported colored me 'pink.' I needed to do something about all that was wrong in the world around us…But I had no idea what until I found social work” (Billups 2002, p.146). The outbreak of civil war in Spain shortly after their departure intensified their desire to fight reactionary movements. After another few years in Illinois, the Kendalls moved to Louisiana State University where Ken was offered an attractive position.

Katherine found social work in a newly established social work program at LSU where she was awarded a master’s degree in 1939. She entered the field with a conviction that the purpose of social work should be social change to attack poverty and injustice. As she noted later, “I soon discovered that unhappy and impoverished relationships can create every bit as much misery as inadequate social institutions. By the end of the first year, I became really convinced that social work had, and would always have, a helping as well as a social reform function” (Billups, p.147).

She worked for a year on a demonstration project sponsored by the Louisiana State Department of Social Welfare before beginning doctoral study in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She studied there with some of the most distinguished faculty in American social work history: Edith Abbott, Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Charlotte Towle. As sometimes happens with extremely talented students, her doctoral studies were interrupted several times as she responded to professional opportunities and areas of need. During World War II, she worked for the American Red Cross, first as a Home Service Correspondent and then as Assistant Director of Training for the region based in Virginia. After the war, she got her first professional introduction to international work.

Introduction to International Work

In 1945, Katherine moved to a position at the U.S. Children's Bureau where she worked as Assistant Director of the Inter-American Unit and Training Supervisor, International Service, until 1947. The Children's Bureau (a U.S. governmental agency) was launching a program of technical assistance and training for social welfare personnel from Latin America. Kendall was recruited partly for her fluency in Spanish and through the connections Edith Abbott made for her. It was during this period that Katherine and her husband began to live in different places. As she noted “sometimes I tried to follow him, and once he tried to follow me, but that didn't work” (Billups 2002, p.148). Ultimately, it was a factor in their divorce in 1950.

She went from the Bureau to the United Nations in 1947, early in its founding years. She was based in Lake Success New York and has often noted the wonderful irony of a new institution for world peace locating its temporary headquarters in a building that had produced war materials. The early days of the United Nations were exciting. As Kendall noted, “Everyone was totally imbued (or so it seemed to me) with the spirit of hope and determination to make the United Nations a reality” (Kendall 1994, p.7). In a perspective that was to last her a lifetime, she explained “We were there as international civil servants and we were international. If we did not think and act as internationalists we could not have survived in the heady international atmosphere of those first years. It was really quite wonderful” (1994, p.7).

At the United Nations, she conducted a world survey of social work training, to assess qualifications needed in the field of social welfare. The study results were published in 1950 as Training for Social Work: An International Survey. The survey also was the foundation of her doctoral dissertation. (She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1950) Kendall's study was groundbreaking. It was the first of what eventually were 5 world surveys of social work education sponsored by the United Nations. The study put together a comprehensive picture of social work education and remains a significant historical document. For example, at the time of the survey, there were 10 social work programs in universities in China, all of which disappeared under the Communist regime. Now, as social work has remerged in China, it is important to acknowledge the earlier efforts. The Study also led to a resolution issued by the U.N. Social Commission and adopted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and General Assembly (UN 1950a). The resolution included the following important statement: “Social work should in principle be a professional function performed by men and women who have received professional training by taking a formal course of social work theory and practice in an appropriate educational institution” (Beless 2004, p.6). It continued on to say that such training should be “sufficiently comprehensive to do justice to both the variety and the unity of social work”-a far-sighted recognition of the need for both locally relevant and universal elements in social work. The resolution helped to spark development of social work education in many parts of the world. These developments also made it possible for the IASSW to become a truly global organization over the next decades.



Katherine Kendall, in the course of the U.N. study, had been in touch with a number of officers and members of the IASSW, known then as The International Committee of Schools of Social Work. (The name was changed after the election of new officers and board of directors in 1952) However, she did not know it as an organization until 1948. A very modest International Conference of Social Work and Schools of Social Work was held in Atlantic City in connection with annual social work meetings in the U.S. Delegates attending a meeting of the American Association of Schools of Social Work (AASSW) were asked to stay to hear a beautiful speech by René Sand, distinguished European pioneer in social work education, in which he invited the schools of the new world to join with schools in the old world in rebuilding social work education in Europe. Sand at the time was the head of the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and newly named President of the IASSW. Only a few delegates stayed for the speech by this distinguished international visitor. It was so embarrassing. Katherine attended because of her role with the United Nations. It was then she determined to make every school of social work in the U.S. a member of the IASSW and it was here she made a decision to do something with IASSW. When she later became Executive Secretary of the AASSW, she made sure that every school joined the IASSW.

On a more positive note, the Atlantic City meeting led to a fruitful connection with the Social Affairs Department of the United Nations, led by a Director from New Zealand who strongly supported social welfare and social work. He was invited to speak at Atlantic City. Kendall wrote most of that speech as well as others he was too busy to prepare himself. He agreed to bring delegates attending the small International Conference to an all day meeting at the UN to discuss the contribution of social work to its programs in the social field. This resulted in UN sponsorship of a series of seminars on social work education.

Kendall's first IASSW Congress was the one held in Paris in 1950, the first real postwar Congress, significant for its revival of the IASSW. The war had taken a great toll on the association and its leadership. Founding and long time President, Alice Salomon, had been exiled from her native Germany and died in New York in 1948, despondent over the terrible events of the 1930's and 40's. The wartime secretary of the International Committee, Elinor Black of England, had tried to maintain the files in England but they were lost in the bombing. And, many member schools in Europe had been devastated, with faculties and facilities lost.

In Paris, Kendall gave an invited keynote speech at the Congress on her UN study of social work education. As she described the event, she was pretty nervous as this was early in her career. Sand and the other leaders were impressed with her study and recognized her leadership potential. She was quickly co-opted as a board member; indeed, after her speech, René Sand tapped her on the shoulder and told her she was now on the association board (personal communication, K. Kendall, June 2007). When Sand died in 1953, the association faced another leadership crisis. The officers and European board members conferred and sent a letter to Kendall, offering her either the post of President or Secretary. “Characteristically, she chose the one with the daily grind of hard work, with the result that the IASSW was enabled to respond to new demands and eventually to become a worldwide organization” (deJongh et al. 1978, p.v). Thus, Katherine was elected Secretary in 1954 in Toronto and served as the Elected Secretary from 1954 to 1966. As Secretary in an all volunteer international organization, Katherine was the chief administrative officer. Indeed, Jan de Jongh of the Netherlands accepted the Presidency in 1954 on the condition that Katherine would do the administrative work of the organization. In 1966, Kendall was named Secretary General, a position she held on a part-time basis until 1971.

During the period 1954-1971, while shouldering the bulk of the administrative work of the IASSW, Kendall worked in various leadership positions for the United States national organization for social work education, the Council on Social Work Education. . She began with the Council at its founding in 1952 as Educational Secretary. She became Associate Executive Director from 1958-1963 and Executive Director from 1963-1966. She stepped down from the Executive role in 1966 and became Director of International Education for CSWE, a role that allowed her to take the more active role with the IASSW. In 1971, she left the Council to become full time Secretary General of the IASSW. She made considerable contributions to the development of social work education in the United States during her almost 20 years with the Council and her previous work with the American Association of Schools of Social Work. She has continued to be active in many Council initiatives since her retirement. Space does not permit covering these noteworthy accomplishments here, as the focus is on her service to the IASSW. In many ways, however, having a base in CSWE strengthened her capacity to serve the IASSW.

IASSW: Programs and Accomplishments

As noted, Kendall began her service to IASSW as the elected Secretary, moving to part-time Secretary General and finally full time in that post. The challenge for Katherine and for the organization was to convert a largely European group, badly disrupted by the war, into a worldwide force for social work education. This was done through a variety of program initiatives and outreach to build the membership.

One of IASSW's major and enduring functions has been knowledge sharing through international and regional seminars and conferences. The first of many biennial IASSW Congresses Katherine organized was the one in Munich in 1956. This was an important Congress. The return of the organization to Germany represented a reconciliation of sorts of the sad history of German withdrawal from IASSW in the 1930's after the failed attempts of some German schools to force Alice Salomon to resign from the leadership. The association also sponsored regional seminars in many parts of the world. Kendall noted in a recent interview that there was much more communication in these early years of IASSW because the people saw each other more often. Eileen Younghusband, one of the leaders of the IASSW in the 1950's and 1960's, asked a school or schools to organize a seminar in between Congress years. Schools would be invited to send delegates. This way, they kept in touch between congresses. Although the seminars did not reach everyone, it was enough to be visible.

It was under Kendall's leadership that the IASSW expanded from what was essentially a European organization into a worldwide body. Becoming a global organization meant bringing new schools from all regions into membership; recruiting board members and leaders from diverse countries; and holding Congresses and seminars on different continents. Kendall remembers how she and Eileen Younghusband tried to get non-Europeans on Congress programs. At times, they pursued some and found they in fact were not what they seemed-for example one woman who had a Chinese name was actually an English woman married to a Chinese man. Yet, there was considerable success in diversifying and expanding the membership and their participation. Just before the outbreak of World War II, the association had 75 member schools in 18 countries. In 1959, there were 259 members in 31 countries including 15 outside of Europe and North America. By 1978, when Kendall retired, IASSW had approximately 500 school members in 70 countries with truly global reach (de Jongh et al. 1978, p.vi). Leadership was also diversified. In 1956, for example, educators from Australia, Guatemala, Japan and India were added to the Board of Directors (Healy 2001).

In the late 1950's, the organization was able to expand into co-sponsorship of a journal. A grant from the National Cash Register company in Canada funded the launch of the journal International Social Work in 1958 as a cooperative venture between IASSW and the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW), joined in 1959 by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). For the first decade of publication, Kendall did most of the work of editing the journal and contributed extensively to its content with frequent updates of IASSW projects and activities. This also marked the beginning of a close association with the ICSW and newborn IFSW. The biennial conferences of all three organizations were held jointly with some shared participation in the planning and designated expenses.

Interaction with the lead international intergovernmental organizations is crucial to extending the impact of social work globally. While still with the UN, Kendall helped the IASSW achieve consultative status as an NGO. During the Kendall years, there was active involvement by the United Nations in social work education and close collaboration with the IASSW. UNICEF and the UN were very active in social work and sponsored numerous seminars in various parts of the world. They frequently called on IASSW to help. In effect, UNICEF or the UN funded the seminars, but it was the IASSW that reached out, brought the schools together, and provided leaders and recorders. IASSW was particularly close to the Social Commission and presented interventions (statements of policy recommendations) to the Commission on behalf of social work education. Charles (Chuck) Guzzetta of Hunter College, New York, wrote some of these, and Katherine wrote others.

Secretary General 1971-1978

In many ways, the period of Kendall's executive leadership from 1971-1978 was the “golden era” of IASSW. The association established a staffed office, reached out to all corners of the world to bring many of the newly independent countries into membership and into active participation in IASSW projects and seminars, and developed and ran a major international project on family planning that involved more than 20 countries.

Full time work meant more capacity to consult with schools and national organizations. Reading through her travel schedule makes one think that the airlines are in financial trouble because Katherine stopped traveling. In the fall of 1971, for example, she spoke at an Asian Regional Seminar in Bombay and made consultation visits to Turkey, Iran, Israel, India, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Japan. 1973 shows travel to Costa Rica, London, Ethiopia, Greece, Switzerland, Norway and London again. (Kendall curriculum vitae)

The fully staffed office was made possible in part by a large program grant on family planning. Katherine Oettinger had convinced the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund a conference in Hawaii on social work and family planning in 1970. This laid the groundwork for a larger project. Katherine remembers that the project almost fell through at the last minute because of questions from a government auditor. It was a real crisis, as Kendall had already resigned from her CSWE job, rented office space and hired staff. Fortunately, everything worked out, due in part to Gerald Winfield, a “wonderful and socially minded” AID project director (personal communication, K. Kendall, June 2007).

The purpose of the 6 year project was to develop qualified personnel for population and family planning work in developing countries. More specifically, the project defined family planning as part of the broader aims of social development and gave attention to human and cultural dimensions of family planning practice, often missing from other professions' interventions (Kendall 1977). The project involved numerous schools in about 20 countries. Pilot schools were located in Turkey, Iran, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Sudan, Zambia, Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya. More than 100 seminars and workshops and additional consultations were held over the duration of the project to train faculty members in family planning. The summary report identifies many positive outcomes. In Asia, for example, the schools reported that more than 7000 students had been reached through course content and/or field placements. Numerous publications were generated that extended the reach of the project beyond the participating schools. One early example was Population and Family Planning: Analytical Abstracts for Social Work Educators and Related Disciplines (1972). This volume was translated into Spanish by the Pan American Health Organization and disseminated for wider use.

As Kendall reports, the project was not without its challenges and disappointments. There was significant ideological resistance to the project in Latin America, both from the Catholic church and from leftists who saw family planning as an effort to limit indigenous populations. As a result, the project failed to take hold in Latin American schools. On another occasion, Kendall gave a speech in Singapore, where the government had imposed restrictive policies on child bearing. Kendall encouraged means other than penalties on families to encourage them to limit family size to two children. The newspaper ran an article saying that this woman from the United States was criticizing the government of Singapore. Katherine was worried that this could disrupt the project, but, fortunately, there was no follow up to the article.

The family project was significant not only for its contributions to the specific field, but also because it increased the involvement and reputation of the IASSW with schools of social work in developing countries and with intergovernmental organizations. The emphasis on defining family planning to fit with local conditions gave further impetus to development of locally relevant/indigenous social work curriculum. Although no project of this scope and size has been launched since the 1970's, the family planning project can still serve as a model for what is possible for the IASSW.

Retirement and beyond

Katherine Kendall officially retired as Secretary General of the IASSW in 1978 at the age of 68. Her retirement speech, delivered at the 1978 Congress in Israel, traced the history of the first 50 years of the organization and was published by the association in a collection of some of her other papers (Kendall 1978a). As many of her admirers have quipped, retirement is the only thing at which Kendall has ever failed. Indeed, since 1978, she has maintained involvement with both the CSWE and the IASSW as an honorary life member of both boards. As was true earlier in her career, Kendall has not rested and has continued to actively contribute to both organizations for almost 30 years beyond her “retirement”. For 18 years, from 1981-1999, she served as the chief consultant to the Foreign Equivalency Determination Service of CSWE, assessing credentials of foreign social workers for purposes of licensing and employment in the U.S. She served in the early 1980's as the Moses Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work. From 1985-1987, she was Executive Secretary of Council of Advisors to Hunter College, its School of Social Work, and the Lois and Samuel Silberman Fund (Beless 2004).

In her 90's, Kendall wrote and published two scholarly books to add to her long bibliography. The first, Social Work Education: Its Origins in Europe (2000), was sparked when educators in the United States declared 1998 to be the 100th anniversary of social work education. Katherine undertook extensive research to show without a doubt that 1998 was in fact only the 100th anniversary of part time education in the United States, as earlier efforts in Europe had not only occurred but indeed informed the developments in New York and Chicago. Following this book, Kendall published a detailed history of the formative years of the Council on Social Work Education: Council on Social Work Education: Its Antecedents and First Twenty Years (2002). Her “post-retirement” activities with the IASSW included editing the World Guide to Social Work Education, published in 1984, and active involvement with the board of directors and Executive Committee. In addition, she has made numerous speeches to national and international meetings-many while in her 90's-and provided consultation to schools of social work in several countries.

Professional Disappointments

In a long career, even one full of successes, there are bound to be disappointments. Kendall readily identifies a few of these. In the mid-1960's, the U.S. Congress passed the International Education Act. There was great excitement about its potential for expanding international programs. John Gardner, Secretary of the Department of Health and Welfare, who was put in charge of its administration, urged universities to get ready to implement exciting programs. In anticipation, CSWE set up an international division and changed its bylaws to reflect a more international mission. It was then that plans were developed for Katherine to work half time with IASSW and half time with CSWE. Although it had seemed certain, Congress never funded the act. This was a huge disappointment. Most likely, the act fell victim to the Vietnam war and domestic unrest.

She has been concerned over the harsh critiques of social work international consultation. It became fashionable throughout the 1980's to denigrate foreign consultation as imperialistic. At many professional meetings and seminars since that time, Kendall has encouraged the critics to look more deeply at the successes as well as the limitations of earlier efforts. “Much of what has been said is based on failure to take into account the circumstances and the times in which events took place. Of course mistakes were made…But the notion that all American social work consultation was inappropriate is a canard” (Kendall 1996, p.10). She notes, for example, that the initial interest in American casework among Europeans grew out of their belief that casework offered a democratic model of practice as it was based on helping clients to help themselves, rather than telling them what to do, a dominant pattern in European practice at the time.

Kendall has also continued to worry about the IASSW whenever it has had difficult times. One such time was during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. IASSW placed the South African schools on probation with retention of membership dependent upon their meeting certain criteria. This decision was based on the desire to support individual schools and faculty members who were working to change the system. The IASSW approach, approved by UNESCO, deflected a possible loss of its consultative status with that organization. The decision, however, caused considerable controversy and after tumultuous and contentious debates and votes, the schools in the Nordic region pulled out of the IASSW, but later returned to active participation.

Katherine also mourned the loss of the salaried Secretariat. Closing the Viennna office in 1992 as a result of financial problems ushered in a really sad period. IASSW is still hindered by the lack of a permanent office and executive staff person. Kendall is concerned that IASSW needs to expand its activities and active involvement of its membership. As she noted, it is important to generate more activity, more information, so that the members see the association as active. One of her major concerns is the way in which the regions took over the program functions of the IASSW leaving the global organization with less to do. Recent bright spots are the world Census and the development and publication of the Global Standards on Social Work Education and Training.

Personality and Reflections

Part of what has sustained Kendall through disappointments and personal challenges including periods of ill health, is her strong sense of hopefulness and optimism. Katherine also believes that she has always had good fortune. She says that her career often developed because of serendipity-being in the right place at the right time. Many times during the interview conducted for this article Katherine said, “There again, I was lucky.” She highly values personal relationships and their importance to a successful and enjoyable career. She noted how often people she met helped to connect her with others and with opportunities. As many of her contemporaries and younger professionals would attest, Kendall has returned this favor many times over in helping others become involved in professional activities and introducing them to leaders from around the world.

As she commented, “my memories of the work with IASSW is of the wonderful, wonderful colleagues from all around the world. It was a privilege and an honor to work for IASSW and to meet terrific people from every continent. I worked in the early days with fantastic officers-Jan (de Jongh), Herman (Stein), Eileen (Younghusband), Robin (Huws Jones), great treasurers such as Chick Hendry and John Morgan.” She added “Chick got money, but with John, we knew how much money we had.” Many of these colleagues became friends for life, leading to many visits back and forth. There were memorable visits in London and New York with Dame Eileen Younghusband, in Tehran with Satti Farman -Farmaian of Iran (now exiled in the United States), at Silver Sands in Jamaica with Sybil Frances, with Robin Huws Jones in the Lake Country, Angelina Almanzor in Manila, and Annie Hofer in Zurich and a chalet near Lugano. Also memorable was a very recent visit from Armaity Desai of India.

She has especially fond memories of an evening spent with René Sand in Paris. She had dinner with Mme. Isabel Cremer and Sand, two of the early leaders of the IASSW. After dinner, Sand suggested they go to Montmartre for coffee. Mme Cremer declined, but Sand took Katherine to Montmartre. As she recalls, here she sat on a beautiful summer night, overlooking Paris, listening to René Sand's stories of a fascinating life. She admired him greatly, partly for his accomplishments, but also because of his personality and his enormous knowledge about everything-the classics, history, human behavior, gourmet food, wine, and more. In addition he was a charming gentleman.

Katherine's appreciation of Sand's many qualities is echoed in comments about Kendall herself. As Don Beless wrote in 2004, after listing her many accomplishments, “Katherine the person is equally impressive. Dr. Kendall is an inspiration and a role model as much for her strength of character, zest, good humor, and unquestioned integrity as for her incredible achievements…Her intelligence, wisdom, quiet wit, thoughtfulness, personal warmth, and genuine concern for others has earned her the admiration and respect” from people from all walks of life (p.7). For decades, Kendall has invited not only individuals but whole groups of board members from CSWE and IASSW into her home for cocktail parties and dinners, underscoring the importance of the interpersonal as well as the professional. She also has a rich and active family life, with a number of God children who, because of tragic circumstances, are her virtual children, and many nieces and nephews, and their children.

There are also many amusing memories from her interactions. When she was sent to Paraguay as a consultant by the State Department, she was in a pension, sharing a bathroom with the neighboring suite. The other suite was occupied by an Argentine general who kept locking her bathroom door and keeping her out. She was sent because Eva Peron was coming on a state visit and had already told the Paraguayans that she wanted to send consultants to organize their social welfare programs. The Paraguayans wanted to be able to say they already had a consultant and the State Department recruited Kendall for what turned out to be a fascinating and productive assignment. Another incident involved a sauna in Finland. There was an international seminar held in a facility in Finland where there was a sauna. Gordon Hamilton, a noted American (female) social work leader, was there and was part of a group of American women who wanted to schedule the sauna to be sure that a time was set aside for women only. After the sauna, the women went out on the pier wrapped in towels, which they discarded to jump in the lake. They discovered afterwards that the men were watching with great amusement. Hamilton was not amused. Katherine, however, was!

Kendall's Philosophy of Social Work

Throughout her career, Kendall has demonstrated a strong commitment to international collaboration and work on common concerns. She urged social workers to be students of the world: “New theoretical frameworks cry out for comparative study of these different approaches to the solution of the problems with which almost all nations are concerned. It would be regrettably shortsighted to limit the search for better understanding and mastery of those problems to one's own cultural perspective when so much is happening in all regions and could be learned by opening windows on the world” (Kendall 1978b, p.110). She endorsed the idea of difference within internationalism. In 1971, she wrote “Social work can never be value-free. Neither can it be culture free” (Kendall 1978b, p.110). She continued: “I predict, nevertheless, that acceptance of the difference as good and necessary could lead to a new era for international communication and collaboration in social work education. The time is ripe for cross-national, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary ventures in research, teaching and practice” (p.110). Perhaps forecasting the issues that arose almost 30 years later during work on the development of the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training (IASSW/IFSW 2004), Kendall predicted “the push toward indigenization will produce healthy differences of opinion and approach. The continuing search for similarities as a professional discipline will reveal universals, products of our continuing growth as a worldwide profession” (1978c, p.86).

An enduring belief in interdisciplinary work is also expressed in many of Kendall’s writings and actions. She advocated for representatives of various professions to be included on social work boards and framed the IASSW project in family planning to include perspectives from various professions. In a 1973 speech, she noted: “We have scarcely begun to work out the most fruitful methods in interdisciplinary cooperation and team work” (Kendall 1978c, p.86). In the same 1971 speech quoted earlier, she said “it is also the time for social work to go even further and consider new interdisciplinary connections. In fact, if we do not make use of other professions in fulfilling our functions, we may find they have taken the functions from us” (1978b, p.110). On this, the profession has been less responsive to Kendall's ideas and some would argue that her predictions of the perils of ignoring interdisciplinary work have come true, especially within the United Nations.

Honors and Recognition

Katherine Kendall has received numerous honors. As mentioned earlier, she was named an honorary lifetime board member of both IASSW and CSWE. She has received honorary doctorates from four universities and awards from various organizations, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from CSWE and the International Rhoda G. Sarnatt Award from the U.S. National Association of Social Workers Two honors stand out. One is the IASSW Katherine A. Kendall Award, established in 1991 and awarded every two years to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to international education in social work. Then, in 2004, CSWE endowed the Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Education from the existing Kendall fund It is fitting that these key organizations have ensured that Kendall's vision will continue through recognitions and programs.

Advice to Social Workers of Today

“We must never forget that social work is a humanizing as well as a developing force in society” Kendall reminds us (1978b, p.109). It is interesting that in another speech delivered in 1972, Kendall used a similar quote, but with the words humanizing and developing reversed in order. No doubt this was intentional and targeted to her audience. Social work must use humanizing processes in its work, but must also deliver real programs and improvements for target populations. To ensure that the profession remain humanizing, Kendall cautions “to be a social worker, you have to care deeply about people and what happens to them…I am worried about social workers who aren't really committed. Are we getting enough recruits who freely choose social work because of what it stands for as a profession and their desire to be part of that?” (Brandwein 2005, p.109). In advice targeted at students and professionals in the United States, she urged: “You have to care what happens to the world and be concerned when the United States uses it great wealth and influence for destructive ends instead of helping to reduce worldwide poverty. You have to care about the world hating us and this unilateral approach to foreign relations” (Brandwein 2005, p.109).

Donald Beless wrote the perfect conclusion to the ongoing biography of Katherine Kendall and I will borrow it here: Katherine Kendall's “work and life have not only influenced generations of social work practitioners and educators and been a major contributor to the professionalization and internationalization of social work, but also has been a testimony for courage, hope, inspiration and social justice in an all too cynical and oppressive world” (2004, p.7). At the time of writing, Kendall is working on her video address to the 2008 IASSW Congress in South Africa in celebration of the 80th year of the association. Her inspiring work continues.


Beless, D. 2004: A profile in excellence: Katherine A. Kendall, in: New Global Development. Journal of International and Comparative Social Welfare, 1&2, pp.5-7.

Billups, J. 2002: Katherine A. Kendall. Faithful Angels. Washington, DC: NASW Press, pp.145-163.

Brandwein, R. 2005: Katherine Kendall: A social work institution. Women creating change, in: Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 1, pp.103-110.

deJongh, J.F., Younghusband, E.L., Stein, H.D. and Huws Jones, R. 1978: Foreword, in: Kendall, K. A. (ed.): Reflections on Social Work Education 1950-1978. New York: IASSW, pp. iii-viii.

Healy, L.M. 2001: International Social Work: Professional Action in an Interdependent World. New York: Oxford University Press.

IASSW/IFSW 2004: Global Standards for Social Work Education & Training. Available from: www.iassw-aiets.org and www.ifsw.org

Kendall, K.A. 1977: Final Report: International development of qualified social work manpower for population and family planning activities. New York: IASSW.

Kendall, K.A. (ed.) 1978a: Reflections on Social Work Education 1950-1978. New York: IASSW.

Kendall, K.A. 1978b: No quiet place. (originally presented in 1971 at Tulane University, New Orleans), in: Kendall, K.A. (ed.): Reflections on Social Work Education 1950-1978. New York: IASSW, pp.100-111.

Kendall, K.A. 1978c: Focus on prevention and development: New opportunities for social work education. (originally presented in 1973 at the University of Singapore in: Kendall, K.A. (ed.): Reflections on Social Work Education 1950-1978. New York: IASSW, pp. 74-87.

Kendall, K.A. 1996: The challenges of internationalism in social work: Past, present and future, in: Healy, L.M. (ed.): The Global-Local Link: International Challenges to Social Work Practice. Proceedings of a Conference held October, 1994. University of Connecticut School of Social Work, West Hartford, CT, pp. 3-11.

Kendall, K.A. 2000: Social Work Education: Its Origins in Europe. Alexandria, VA: CSWE.

Tracy, M.: An interview with Katherine Kendall. Transcript of a videotape. Interview conducted at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC.

United Nations 1950: Training for social work: An international survey. 106. Lake Success, NY: Author.

United Nations 1950a: Social Commission Report. ECOSOC Official Records, 13th Session, Supplement 12,3. Lake Success, NY: Author.

Vander Straeten, S. 1995: Katherine Kendall: An international oral history. Social work education and the United Nations: Beginnings. Interview conducted in Dr. Kendall's home in Mitchellville, MD on April 21. unpublished.

Author´s Address:
Prof. Lynne M. Healy
University of Connecticut
School of Social Work
Email: lynne.healy@uconn.edu