Institute of International Education History

The Institute of International Education was established in 1919 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nicholas Murray Butler, Elihu Root and Stephan Duggan. Butler was then the President of Columbia University, Root a former Secretary of State and Duggan was a senior professor of political science at the college of the City of New York. Duggan was also the first president of the Institute of International Education.

The founders of the Institute of International Education believed that long term and lasting peace was not possible without deep understanding of nations, something that international educational exchange could ensure. The first step towards this goal was to start organizing student, teacher and faculty exchange programs with European governments. A new category of non-immigrant student visas was created. This bypassed the quotas that were set by the Immigration Act of 1921.

In the 1930s there was an Emergency Committee that was created to aid displaced German scholars. This initiative helped eminent personalities like Martin Buber, Paul Tillich and Jacques Maritain. The 1940s saw the inception of NAFSA, Association of International Educators and Council on International Educational Exchange. This was also the decade when the Institute of International Education was called upon to administer the State managed Fulbright Program.

In 1950, the Institute of International Education extended its arms and reached out to various other regions such as Asia, Africa and Latin America. It provided aid to 700 Hungarian refugee students and provided them scholarships to study in America. "Open Doors", an annual statistical report on the foreign students present in the United States was also started.

Overseas offices were opened in Asia, Africa and Latin America in 1960s and many Venezuelan students were allowed to study in the US in the 1970s. The New York headquarters were opened sometime in the 1980s and new offices were opened in Budapest and Hanoi in the 1990s. The Ford International Fellowship Foundation, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Scholar rescue fund were some of the initiatives in this century.


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