The Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) began as a sprouting leaf from the Agency for International Development (AID) more than 50 years ago. Soon enough, AAIE grew into the innovative and international organization enjoyed today around the world by the hundreds of member schools, educational organizations, resource providers, and the thousands of individuals within these organizations who actively participate with our global leadership community.

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 implementation of a school-to-school project that would ultimately pair stateside schools with American-sponsored overseas schools. A program so large required that administrators from all over the world would need 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 both membership and conference attendance is just one example of AAIE’s growth over the years. AAIE is constantly evolving to better support international school leaders around the globe. As the world changes, so does AAIE accordingly, to ensure that its mission is always international education and leadership. Since 1966 its conferences and memberships continue to grow. AAIE has the longest-serving secure online listserv for leaders to connect and privately discuss role-specific challenges with HeadNet and PrincipalNET. AAIE has also historically provided training and ways to connect around programs for special needs teachers and counselors. The Association is proud of its flagship international research journal called InterED, which is published bi-annually and the annual International Leadership Awards of recognition for those dedicated to promoting the importance of international education and innovation. AAIE also supports and provides various scholarships for international high school and university students in the areas of international citizenship and leadership development.

AAIE now offers an online International School Leadership Certificate that participants can apply towards either a masters or doctoral degree with our partner university. The new Leadership Legacy Mentoring Program also provides an experienced mentor and uniquely international resources for those going into their first international school headship. The new International School Leadership Transition Retreat and other developments show our continued commitment to meeting the needs of members and improving the quality and success of those leading international schools everywhere.

AAIE is constantly working to encourage and support the development of international education and excellence in leadership.

Written by Roddia Paul, Information courtesy of "The History of AAIE in Two Parts"by Dr. Gil Brown.