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A Short Presentation of WISC

The goal of WISC is to develop organizational structures in such a way that the activities of our members are complemented and that international studies may prosper around the globe.

About WISC WISC stands for World International Studies Committee. It represents a network of national and regional professional associations in the academic field of International Studies. WISC includes more than 20 national or regional international studies associations worldwide and, thus, stands as the only genuinely global organization of international studies scholarship. Its declared mission is to promote scholarly cooperation and exchange at the international level and reach out in particular to those countries, regions and communities of scholarship which are still underrepresented in global international studies.

Among the major activities of WISC triannual “Global International Studies Conferences” and smaller Workshops stand out. Global conferences have taken place in Istanbul (2005), Ljubljana (2008) Porto (2011), Frankfurt (2014) and Taipei (2017). Between 1000 and 1200 scholars from close to 70 countries have participated in these conferences. The Sixth Global International Studies Conference will take place in Cancun, Mexico, in 2020. More recently WISC has started to initiate smaller workshops which brought together scholars from all over the world in Cancun (2015), New Delhi (2016), Goa (2017) and Johannesburg (2018). These activities will be intensified in the future.

The beginnings of WISC as we know it today date back to the formation of an “Ad Hoc Committee on Inter-Organizational Cooperation” among international studies associations at an ISA meeting in 1993. Prior to the formation of the “Ad Hoc Committee” there existed a sort of precursor between 1928 and the early 1950s in the form of the “International Studies Conference” (ISC) which was officially associated with the “League of Nations” (for a history see David Long, Who killed the International Studies Conference?, esp. pp. 603 and 610). Barry Buzan and John Groom were instrumental in bringing WISC about. Bojko Buçar steered WISC for six years of steady expansion between 2008 and 2014. In 2014 Gunther Hellmann took over from Bojko Buçar.

Initially, in 2002, a Charter was adopted which defined WISC’s  purposes in the form of a “Committee of the Whole” – one of the advantages of such a form being its inclusivity, ie. that all members may participate in all decisions. The key disadvantage of this form was that WISC was not formally registered and, as a result, was limited in its activities as far as contractual commitments are concerned. In 2016 member associations initiated a process which eventually, in early 2017, led to the formal registration of WISC as an association according to the Swiss Civil Code having its seat in Zurich, Switzerland.