Constitution

The ISA Constitution was last revised and formally amended by a vote of the membership on June 15, 2015.

ARTICLE I. NAME

This association shall be known as the International Studies Association.

ARTICLE II. PURPOSE

  1. The Purpose of the Association is to serve the needs and enhance the capacities of scholars, practitioners, and others without regard to nationality having a professional interest in expanding, disseminating, and applying knowledge of interrelations among nations and peoples.
  2. To achieve these ends, the Association shall actively pursue cooperative relationships with other appropriate organizations around the world.
  3. The Association is educational and non-partisan. It will not support or oppose political parties or candidates. It may take positions on issues only if they are immediately and directly concerned with the purpose stated above and only within the limits that must be observed to maintain tax exemption under the revenue laws of the country in which the headquarters are located.

ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP

  1. Any person sharing the purposes of the Association and paying dues set by the Governing Council may be a member. The Association is committed to fostering independent, responsible scholarly inquiry by all of its members.
  2. Members shall be entitled to:
    1. Receive copies of the specified official publications of the Association
    2. Attend, participate in, and vote in the Annual Business Meeting
    3. Participate in mail ballots arranged by the Association
    4. Participate in other activities sponsored by the Association.
  3. At the discretion of the Governing Council, ISA will approve joint activity with cooperating organizations or institutions. Such approval should be with scholarly and professional organizations whose purposes are similar to those of the ISA and where cooperation is likely to lead to meaningful, reciprocal, and ongoing activities between the respective organizations.

ARTICLE IV. COMPONENT UNITS

  1. Groups of members organized to promote purposes identified in Article II, Section 1, may be recognized as component units of the Association on such conditions as the Governing Council may fix. Regional divisions, sections organized to promote study and research on specific problems, and caucuses of members with particular interests or characteristics are among the units that may be recognized.
    1. In addition to the regions in existence at the time this amendment is adopted, other regional sub-units may be established upon petition of two hundred fifty or more members to the Governing Council via the Executive Director. The petition will include a statement of purpose, organization, and activities. The Governing Council will specify that portion of the Association membership dues to be credited to the regions.
    2. Sections may be established upon petition of 3.5 percent or more of ISA members to the Governing Council via the Executive Director. The petition shall include a statement of purpose, organization and activities. Sections may establish their own dues. The Executive Office will disburse the funds to the activities of Sections.
    3. Caucuses may be established upon petition of fifty or more members to the Governing Council via the Executive Director. The petition will include a statement of purpose, organization, and activities. Caucuses may establish dues. The Executive Office will disburse funds to the activities of Sections.
  2. All component units must have written by-laws filed with the Executive Office within two years of the establishment of the component unit. These by-laws must provide for democratic election of officers and must prohibit the same person from serving in an office for more than five consecutive years.
  3. All component units will present yearly reports to the Governing Council that review their activities and budgets. These reports will be made available to the membership of the Association.
  4. Any region that falls below two hundred fifty members, any section that falls below one hundred members, and any caucus that falls below fifty members will be subject to review by the Executive Committee. In addition, any petition to the Executive Director by at least ten members of a component unit alleging impropriety in governance will trigger a review by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will report to the Governing Council, which will decide whether or not to re-charter the section, region, or caucus.

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ARTICLE V. THE GOVERNMENT

  1. The government of the Association shall consist of a President, three Vice Presidents, a President-Elect, the immediate Past-President, three Vice Presidents-Elect, a Treasurer, a Governing Council, an Executive Committee, an Annual Business Meeting, and members voting by mail [electronic or postal] ballot.
  2. The officers of the Association shall be a President, three Vice Presidents, a President-Elect, the immediate Past-President, the Treasurer, and the Executive Director.

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ARTICLE VI. THE GOVERNING COUNCIL

  1. The Governing Council shall consist of the following:
    1. The President, three Vice Presidents, the immediate Past-President, the Executive Director, the President-Elect, three Vice Presidents-Elect, the Treasurer, the Chair(s) of the annual meeting program committee and the Chair of the publications committee;
    2. The head of each component unit of ISA
    3. Six at-large representatives elected by members resident outside the recognized regions of the Association by processes to be determined by the Governing Council.

    All of the above shall have voting status.

  2. In cases of disputed elections, the Governing Council shall be the judge of its own membership.
  3. The President shall convene at least one meeting of the Governing Council in conjunction with each annual convention of the Association and, with the approval of the Executive Committee, he/she may convene extraordinary meetings. He/she shall convene an extraordinary meeting if one-third or more of the members of the Governing Council request it. Except for meetings called during the period of the annual convention, members of the Governing Council shall be given at least one week's notice of their time and place.
  4. The Governing Council may establish its own rules of procedure. In absence of contrary decision by the Governing Council, Robert's Rules of Order shall prevail.
  5. The Governing Council shall:
    1. Approve or modify the President's recommendations of four members of the Executive Committee from its voting and ex-officio membership
    2. Elect the Editor of all journals of the Association on the joint recommendation of the President and the Executive Committee; the election shall be for a term of not more than five years.
    3. Decide questions pertaining to the selection and the term of service of the editor of any official publication in addition to all journals of the Association
    4. Elect the Executive Director on the joint recommendation of the President and the Executive Committee
    5. Recognize component units of the Association, and terminate such recognition
    6. Adopt an annual budget, set dues, and authorize expenditures
    7. Determine what compensation, if any, is to be paid to the Executive Director and other officers
    8. Select the site of the Annual Convention or specifically delegate authority to do so
    9. Approve rules for the conduct of the Annual Business Meeting, for the holding of elections, and for the submission of proposed amendments and resolutions to members
    10. Adopt resolutions and undertake or approve activities designed to promote the purposes of the Association
    11. Establish and terminate standing committees
  6. The Governing Council, for adequate cause, may remove any officer of the Association. In the case of the President, it shall act only on the basis of a two-thirds recommendation of the members of the Executive Committee. In the case of the editors of all journals of the Association and the Executive Director, it shall act only on the basis of a joint recommendation from the President and the Executive Committee who together must comprise two-thirds of the Executive Committee.

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ARTICLE VII. THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

  1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the Vice Presidents, the President-Elect, the immediate Past-President, the Treasurer, the Executive Director and four members selected by the Governing Council from its own membership, reflecting the diversity of perspectives of the Association. Elected members representing the Governing Council shall serve for one year and shall be eligible for re-election.
  2. The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the President. He/she is obliged to call a meeting upon the request of one-third or more of the members of the committee.
  3. The Executive Committee shall:
    1. Assist and advise the president as he/she requests
    2. Review, at the request of any two members of the Executive Committee, the performance of duties of any officer of the Association, the Editors of any of the Association's publications, appointed committee Chairpersons, or the Executive Director for the purpose of determining whether they should be asked to alter their performance or be dismissed. Any Officer, Editor, Committee Chairperson, or the Executive Director shall be given the opportunity to respond in person to any allegations of inadequate performance, but shall not participate in the final deliberation or vote on the disposition of the case. By agreement of two-thirds of its members who are present, the Executive Committee may request modification in performance, issue a reprimand, or issue a citation or the appropriate recognition for outstanding performance of duties to the individual(s) reviewed. By a two-thirds vote of those eligible, the Executive Committee can recommend to the Governing Council that any officer of the Association, Editor, Committee Chair or the Executive Director be dismissed
    3. Undertake assignments growing out of resolutions duly adopted by governing agencies of the Association; meet in executive session to discuss and make decisions on personnel, legal, and contractual matters that by law require confidentiality. The decisions will be reported and explained to the Governing Council in a manner that will not expose the association to litigation or disclosure of confidentiality requirements.

ARTICLE VIII. THE PRESIDENT

  1. The President shall serve for a term of one year
  2. The President shall:
    1. convene and preside over meetings of the Executive Committee, the Governing Council, and the Annual Business Meeting
    2. Arrange for the preparation of an agenda for meetings of the Governing Council and for the Annual Business Meeting
    3. Recommend a budget to the Governing Council
    4. Arrange to inform the Governing Council and the Annual Business Meeting of the Association's financial condition
    5. Oversee with the Treasurer the handling of the Association's funds
    6. Oversee the work of the Executive Office
    7. Recommend jointly with the Executive Committee the election, or for adequate cause the removal, of the Editor of all journals of the Association and the Executive Director of the Association
    8. Propose programs and policies designed to advance the best interests of the Association

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ARTICLE IX. THE PRESIDENT-ELECT

  1. The President-Elect shall automatically succeed to the Presidency at the close of the Annual Business Meeting next after his election.
  2. If the President should die, resign, or be unable to perform his/her duties, the President-Elect, if available, shall become the president for the remainder of the term.

ARTICLE X. THE VICE PRESIDENTS

  1. Three Vice Presidents shall be elected for one-year terms coinciding with the term of the president.
  2. One of the Vice Presidents shall be resident outside the recognized regions of the Association.
  3. The Vice Presidents shall be members of the Executive Committee and the Governing Council.
  4. The responsibilities of the Vice Presidents shall include oversight and coordination of committees, liaison with sections and regions, interaction with other appropriate organizations, development of inter-organizational cooperation, and strengthening connections with government, foundations, and business. The President, in consultation with the Vice Presidents, shall determine the specific responsibilities of the Vice Presidents.
  5. If the President should die, resign, or be unable to perform his/her duties, and if the President-Elect is unavailable to take over the duties of the office, the immediate Past-President will convene the Executive Committee to determine which Vice President should complete the term as President.
  6. Three Vice Presidents-Elect shall be elected at the same time and by the same procedures as the President-Elect. If more than three persons are being nominated to the office of Vice President-Elect, election shall be by mail ballot.Vice Presidents-Elect shall serve in that capacity from the time that their election has been confirmed at the Annual Business Meeting or the mail ballot, until the next annual meeting. At the close of that meeting they shall automatically succeed to the office of Vice President and serve in that capacity until the close of the following Annual Business Meeting.
  7. The Vice Presidents-Elect shall be members of the Governing Council and alternate members of the Executive Committee. Upon succeeding to the office of Vice President they shall also serve as full members of the Executive Committee.

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ARTICLE XI. THE TREASURER

  1. The Treasurer shall be elected for a three-year term, with the possibility of re-election.
  2. If more than one person is duly nominated for the office of Treasurer, election shall be by mail [electronic or postal] ballot of the members of the Association.
  3. If the Treasurer should die, resign, or be unable to perform his/her duties, the President will, with the consent of a majority of the Governing Council, appoint an Acting Treasurer to serve until a new Treasurer is elected.
  4. The Treasurer shall:
    1. Oversee, with the President and the Executive Director, the handling of the Association's funds
    2. advise the President and Executive Director on recommending a budget to the Governing Council
    3. Review the annual report of the Executive Director to the Governing Council and the Annual Business Meeting on the Association's financial condition
    4. propose programs and policies to enhance the financial condition of the Association
    5. Serve as a member of the Governing Council and the Executive Committee

ARTICLE XII. THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE

  1. The Executive Office shall consist of an Executive Director and such staff as he/she shall appoint under the budgetary authorization of the Governing Council.
  2. The Executive Office shall be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Association and shall provide support for the governing agencies of the Association.
  3. The Executive Director shall be the chief administrative officer of the Association. He/she shall be elected by the Governing Council for a term of not more than five years on the joint recommendation of the President and the Executive Committee. He/she shall be eligible for reelection. If a vacancy occurs prior to the end of the anticipated term, the President, after consulting with the Executive Committee, may appoint an acting Executive Director to serve until the office is filled.
  4. The Executive Director shall:
    1. Have charge of the Executive Office
    2. Assist the President and other officers and agencies of the Association in the performance of their duties, responding to the requests and initiating his/her own proposals for their consideration
    3. Publish in an official publication of the Association the minutes of the meetings of the Governing Council and of the Annual Business Meeting; propose an annual budget for consideration by the Finance Committee; draft agendas for the meetings of the Governing Council, the Executive Committee, and the Annual Business Meeting
    4. Perform such other duties as the President or the Governing Council may direct

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ARTICLE XIII. THE ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING

  1. The Annual Business Meeting.shall be held at the Annual Convention. All members shall be entitled to participate and to vote.
  2. The Annual Business Meeting. shall have the authority to:
    1. Alter the agenda prepared for it
    2. Receive and consider reports
    3. Discuss any matter relevant to the purposes of the organization
    4. Adopt resolutions consistent with this constitution, provided that the proposed text has been communicated to the Executive Director or the President at least twenty-four hours in advance
    5. Act upon constitutional amendments initiated in accordance with Article XVII, Section 3
    6. Resolutions adopted by the Annual Business Meeting. shall stand as an expression of the views of that body. They shall be considered by the Governing Council and shall constitute formal actions of the Association if they are also adopted by the Governing Council. If a resolution adopted by the Annual Business Meeting; obtains the support of at least one-third of those voting in the Governing Council but fails for adoption, it shall be referred to the membership in a mail ballot.

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ARTICLE XIV. NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

  1. Each President-elect shall select three members for the nominating committee, each to serve for a period of three years (for a total of nine members), after consulting with the Vice-Presidents-elect and taking care that selections contribute to a committee with a variety of perspectives from the organization. The President-elect shall select a convener from the appointed members of the nominating committee for its first meeting at which the committee will elect a chair.
  2. Candidates for President shall be chosen with due consideration both to professional distinction and involvement in the International Studies Association .
  3. The nominating committee shall propose at least one candidate each year for President, at least three candidates each year for Vice President, at least one candidate for Treasurer in the final year of the current Treasurer’s term, and at least five candidates each year for at-large representative on the Governing Council. At least one of the nominees for Vice President and all of the nominees for at-large representative must be from outside the recognized regions of the Association.
  4. The nominating committee shall begin its deliberations at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association.
  5. The nominating committee shall report its recommendations to the Executive Committee not later than its autumn meeting. The nominations shall be made known to the membership in the first newsletter following that Executive Committee meeting.
  6. Any petition for alternative candidates with the documented support of 5 percent or more of the ISA's membership (as of 1 October) that is received by the Executive Director by 1 November will be given the same publicity within the organization as accorded the slate of the nominating committee.
  7. An election by mail or electronic means will be held between November 5 and December 5. If the election is contested, the winning slate will prevail. If the election is uncontested, there must be at least a 15 percent return for the result to be valid. If the percentage return is lower than 15 percent, a second balloting will take place between December 10 and January 15. If the unopposed slate is not elected in the first voting, the nominating committee will reconvene and present a new slate to be voted on between January 15 and February 15. If that election draws less than 15 percent participation or the new slate is not elected, the matter will be referred to the Governing Council.
  8. If a new group of officers-elect has not been chose by the date of the Annual Business Meeting, the existing officers will continue in office for three months.
  9. When the President-elect has succeeded to the Presidency in accordance with Article IX, Section 2, and is due to serve as president for more than six months, the Nominating Committee may propose a new nominee up to three months in advance of the Annual Business Meeting.
  10. In the event that a candidate becomes unavailable after the nominations have been announced, the Nominating Committee may propose a new nominee until January 15. Procedures for dealing with any vacancy occurring after that date will be decided by the Governing Council.

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ARTICLE XV. STANDING AND AD HOC COMMITTEES

  1. The work of the Association may be facilitated by the creation of standing and ad hoc committees. Standing committees are created for tasks that are anticipated to require continuous attention for an indefinite period of time. Ad hoc committees are established for assignments of a one-time or irregularly occurring nature, but that can be completed within a year.
  2. Standing committees are established or terminated by a majority vote of the Governing Council which shall specify their mission, membership size, and terms of office. Standing committees are responsible to the Governing Council and should report to it at least once a year. At the discretion of the Governing Council these annual reports may be given to the Annual Business Meeting and/or submitted in writing for publication. On recommendation of the President-Elect, the Governing Council designates the individuals to serve as chair and members of standing committees.
  3. Ad hoc committees are appointed for a maximum period of one year by the President who determines their mission and membership. Ad hoc committees report to the President in the manner he/she specifies except for the Nominating Committee which shall perform as stated in Article XIII.
  4. The President-elect shall appoint three members of the Finance Committee for two-year terms.

ARTICLE XVI. LEGAL AND FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

  1. The Association shall seek to maintain tax exemption under the terms of the internal revenue legislation of the country in which the Headquarters are located.
  2. No officer or agency of the Association shall borrow money in the name of the Association.

ARTICLE XVII. AMENDMENTS

  1. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by the Governing Council or by the membership.
  2. Proposed amendments that are approved by a two-thirds vote of the Governing Council shall be submitted to a mail ballot of the members of the Association.
  3. Any group of thirty-five or more members of the Association may propose amendments by a signed petition submitted to the Executive Director not less than sixty days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. The Executive Director shall promptly announce such proposals to the members. If the Annual Business Meeting endorses a proposed amendment by a majority vote, it shall be considered by the Governing Council, and if at least one-third of those voting in the Governing Council approve, the amendment shall be submitted to the members of the Association in a mail ballot.
  4. Amendments supported by a majority of those voting in a mail ballot shall be declared adopted.

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ISA's core policy document covers most major functions of the organization as well as headquarters' practices and decision-making. Among other things, our core policies contain information on the following:

  • Academic Freedom and Codes of Conduct
  • Conventions and Travel Grants
  • Finances and Investments
  • Personnel
  • Publications
  • Regions, Sections and Caucuses
Core Policies (PDF)

The International Studies Association

Representing over 100 countries, ISA has more than 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. Endeavoring to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies, ISA is divided into 6 geographic subdivisions of ISA (Regions), 29 thematic groups (Sections) and 4 Caucuses which provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues and within specific subject areas.
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