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In the aftermath of World War II, a new spirit pervaded the world: a desire for International understanding and co-operation. It was this spirit that brought forth both the United Nations (UN) and IAESTE, organisations dedicated to promoting these objectives.

The Association was founded in January 1948 at Imperial College, London, where Mr. James Newby, Head of the Imperial College Vacation Work Committee, initiated a meeting with ten European countries with the aim to promote a better understanding between countries and cultures in the post war era.

The founding Member countries were:

  • Belgium
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

IAESTE Annual Conference

Opening of the Annual Conference, Madrid, 1958. Left; the founder of IAESTE, Mr James Newby

Since 1948, the geographical coverage was soon to spread to most of Europe and beyond, as new countries were admitted to Membership. The Association has grown to include more than 80 countries world-wide and has exchanged in excess of 350,000 students and more than 1500 Companies, Universities and other Employers benefit year by year from the services provided by IAESTE. This means, that on average around 5,000 traineeship places are exchanged each year, enabling students and industry to profit from the internationality of the organisation within the global economy.

The Association became a registered body according to Luxembourg law at its General Conference 2005 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Since then, the official name is: IAESTE a.s.b.l.

The organisation is a non-political, independent, non-governmental Association maintaining a consultative relationship with several agencies of the UN.

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