History

IIE was founded in 1919 by three Nobel Prize winners who shared a simple conviction: international education creates the foundation for lasting peace.

In the aftermath of World War I, these three visionaries (Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University, Elihu Root, former Secretary of State and Stephen Duggan, Sr., Professor of Political Science at the College of the City of New York) created IIE to serve as a connection point between U.S. institutions of higher education and foreign nations interested in developing educational ties with them.

Over the next century, IIE worked with clients, sponsors and donors to develop and manage and expanded our work to additional facets of international education, including workforce training, the advancement of women and girls and support to scholars affected by conflict and natural disasters.

Though we have grown from three people to more than 700, we remain united by our founders’ belief in the power of international education.