The International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS) is a platform for political science students and students interested in political science issues. The association is international, politically independent, non-profit, and student-run, and aims to have a global impact in the political science sphere.

With over twenty years of existence behind its back, IAPSS is a democratic student government representing political science students around the world. It evolved from a loose network to an association with headquarters in Montreal, Canada, while the IAPSS Board is working internationally on a daily basis to initiate and coordinate projects and activities.

Through such projects, IAPSS strives to give its members a sense of responsibility concerning their role in creating an improved political and social environment, as well as the skills and knowledge necessary to act in this direction. It does so by organizing conferences where students from all over the world can exchange their knowledge (IAPSS World Congress and Academic Convention), a Winter School and Summer School and by organizing Study Trips, which grant first-hand insight into the life of political institutions, and by regularly creating and distributing academic and opinion publications (POLITIKON – the IAPSS Journal of Political Science, Encuentro Latinoamericano – Revista de Ciencia Política, A Different View – the IAPSS online blog).

History

The idea of establishing an association for political science students was born in 1996 in Rome (Italy), when SPIL (the Society for Political Science Students in Leiden, the Netherlands) visited its local counterparts in Rome.

Most academic disciplines already had student networks, but for students of political science there was none. By registering its first statutes, IAPSS was formally established in Leiden on October 31, 1998. IAPSS was meant as an umbrella uniting local political science associations and students by granting them access to a constant information flow of current matters in the field of political sciences. Furthermore, IAPSS should provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and for help on studies and research. Since IAPSS’ centre of gravity was Europe, for the first three years of its existence, it managed to unify 17 association members in Europe. During those years it was lead in succession by the local students associations from Leiden (the Netherlands), Oslo (Norway), Debrecen (Hungary), and Rome (Italy) in 2001.

One crucial turning point occurred in 2001 when together with seven additional European associations three associations from the African continent joined. IAPSS turned into the direction of becoming a worldwide network. Just one year after this first transcontinental enlargement, the first local political science student associations from North and South America as well as Asia became members of IAPSS.

Probably the most important turning point in the history of IAPSS had its beginnings in the year 2003, with local association member POLITUSS Ljubljana managing the fate of IAPSS. At the legendary General Assembly – the highest decision-making body of IAPSS – in Ljubljana (Slovenia), the delegates decided on an important step, leading the Association from a loose network to a more stable and predictable organization by establishing a permanent seat and secretariat at the University of Ljubljana.

While the association was led by a joint Executive Committee consisting of local member associations from Marburg (Germany) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania) during 2004, the work on the implementation of the permanent seat and secretariat began in order to be functional at the start of the Executive Committee mandate 2004/2005.

At the General Assembly in Bremen (Germany), the delegates the association agreed that the IAPSS Headquarters should be relocated to Nijmegen (the Netherlands) by 2013. This resolution was carried out by the 16th IAPSS General Assembly in Rome (Italy), in March 2013. The head office was moved to the Netherlands again, near to the city where it once has been founded. For 8 years, IAPSS’ operational base has been embedded at one of Europe’s leading universities in political science: Radboud University Nijmegen.

The 2020-2021 mandate marked one of the most difficult periods in IAPSS’ history, with the global pandemic making in-person events infeasible. As these events have long been a key source of IAPSS’ revenue, the organization has striven to adapt to the new reality by developing the capacity to organizing its conferences in online formats. Recognizing the needs of the remote working and internationally-based Executive Committee, the General Assembly votes in favor of the relocation of IAPSS to Canada. The new location provides the organization the opportunities to seamlessly access online government and banking services, allowing IAPSS to focus on its programs and long-term success in the post-Covid world.