The origins of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) can be traced back to the first fateful meeting held in Lisbon in September 1961 when a Round Table Conference (organized by Dean Donald C. Stone of the US and sponsored by the International Institute of Administrative Sciences) took place.

Donald C. Stone (Dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and founder of the American Public Works Association) could foresee the need for bringing together a group of academics teaching public administration and public service training institutes officers to exchange ideas and experiences. He, along with a few trusted and dedicated individuals, created an organization where his vision of bringing those who teach, prepare and train future public service leaders could materialize. But this tribute would remain incomplete unless we include Donald C. Stone’s right hand man and his main associate Sam S. Richardson, (Principal of the Canberra College of Advanced Education, who later become Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra) who rendered invaluable assistance in nurturing and building the IASIA to its present form.

However, IASIA is sustained not only because of the vision and nurturing of its early leaders, but also required is a lot of additional on-going work for the organization to grow and thrive by those who possess and demonstrate the necessary resilience, fortitude , and hard work needed for the organization to grow and thrive. Among them, besides the esteemed group of IASIA past presidents, other noteworthy individuals who have served with distinction in the cause of IASIA since the 1980s have brought the organization to its present level where at present IASIA consists of 194 corporate/collective members and 5 individual members, representing all continents and geographic regions of the world.

The continuity and sustainability of IASIA over the past 50 years are also related to two other factors. First, there is the dedication and hard work of the IASIA Working groups, which became life-blood of the association, bringing scholars and practitioners together from many countries, different continents, and varied political and administrative cultures. The Working groups were established in 1974 and their number has varied from 5 to 10 over the years. Many of those Working groups have been prominent in publishing their work. The second factor that helped the Association in its policy decisions and overall management is the membership of the Board of Management whose enthusiasm and perseverance made this Association what it is today.

Further information available in “Public Administration in a global context: IASIA at 50‘, edited by O.P. Dwivedi, Bruylant (2011).