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Institute on World Affairs (1942-) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Institute on World Affairs (1942-)
Variant Name: IWA

Historical Note:

The Institute on World Affairs  at San Diego State was founded in 1942 by Dr. Abraham Nasatir, a member of San Diego State College's History faculty.  It is the second-oldest institute of its kind west of the Mississippi.  From 1942 until 1954 it met in the main auditorium of the First Methodist Church, at Ninth and C Streets in downtown San Diego.  In 1954 it was transferred to the San Diego State College campus.

Dr. Nasatir directed the Institute until 1949, when he was succeeded by Minos D. Generales, a member of the Political Science faculty at San Diego State.  In 1949 an Advisory Board was created for the Institute which was representative of wide international interests in international affairs.  The IWA was moved to San Diego State College as a non-profit organization then called the "Council on International Affairs."  In 1957 the IWA's annual session was first broadcast over local radio, and since 1959 sessions have been broadcast over Los Angeles networks and the facilities of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters Network.

The purpose of the annual Institute is to make available to San Diegans the most authoritative interpretations of international affairs and current problems in the broadest possible sense; the goal to engage those who have been most intimately involved in the examination or policy formulation of world issues.  Lecturers and panel members have included leading officials from the US State Department, US Defense Department, numerous diplomatic representatives from around the globe, scientists connected with research affecting national security, psychologists, business leaders, economists and political scientists who engage in comparative studies of ideologies and institutions throughout the world.

Formerly, the IWA held annual three-week sessions every August, including a series of public lectures on matters of international significance.  Today, ninety-minute sessions are held each Thursday evening from February through early May, where speakers address assembled guests for roughly 40 minutes, followed by a question and answer period.  Speakers represent a wide range of viewpoints, backgrounds, political persuasions, and fields of specialization.  In accordance with its motto, Audiatur Et Altera Pars (Let the Other Side Also be Heard), the Institute has striven to maintain its policy of strict non-partisanship throughout its existence.  It is a recognized instrument for the expression of opinions by governments and institutions of their official stands in policies and in the issues of our time.  The IWA is currently directed by Dr. George Bergstrom.

Note Author: Ellen E. Jarosz

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