The Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) began as a sprouting leaf from the Agency for International Development (AID). Soon enough, AAIE sprouted into its own innovative and international organization.
The conclusion of World War II brought many things: peace, technology, and increased desire for intercultural comprehension. As a result, an initiative was put into place by AID, in which they would conduct research to uncover the condition of overseas schools operated by Americans. The survey team that conducted the qualitative study consisted of Ernest Mannino, Finis E. Engleman, B. Melvin Cole, and Eugene Youngert. The study resulted in evidence supporting the claim that American dependent education overseas needed to be improved. In effort to do so the Department of State and AID created the Overseas School Staff (A/OS).
The first initiative taken by A/OS, to improve American overseas schools and further cultural understanding was the implement of a school-to-school project that would ultimately pair stateside schools with American-sponsored overseas schools. A program so big required that administrators from all over the world needed to come together and in doing so, AAIE was created. The members of AAIE used the program to partner in exchanging students and curriculum. AAIE paired with schools in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, India, Singapore, and more. What started out as a small program resulted in the formation of an organization that would eventually grow to have over 300 school memberships.
With the support of A/OS, the first AAIE meeting took place on February 10-11th, 1967 in Atlantic City with a little over 100 people in attendance. Shortly after the first conference, AAIE and A/OS partnered with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to strengthen the school-to-school program. The new mission of the program was not only empowering American education but to bring foreign education to the forefront and learn to embrace what its differences have to offer fellow educators. With the creation of a new and improved school-to-school system the fourth conference held in 1970 totaled 236 people.
The constant increase of conference attendance is just one example of AAIE’s growth over the years. AAIE is constantly evolving in the name of all things education. As the world changes AAIE does accordingly to ensure that its mission is always education and leadership. Since 1966 its conferences and memberships continue to grow. AAIE has created HeadNet; the list-serve for principals, programs of special needs and counselors; a research journal called InterED; annual awards of recognition for those dedicated to promoting the importance of education; and of course support and scholarships for international high schools and universities.
Whether it’s in AAIE’s backyard, or somewhere across the sea, AAIE is constantly working to encourage and support worldwide education.
AAIE History Page written by Roddia Paul, Information courtesy of "The History of AAIE in Two Parts"by Dr. Gil Brown.