IAESTE (I-ess-tay) is the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, a global organization which maintains consultative and operational relations with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of American States. The organization was established in 1948 at the Imperial College in London. For more than 50 years, IAESTE has continued to grow and now includes more than 80 member countries.
Established in this country in 1950, IAESTE United States has a mission to enhance technical and professional development and to promote international understanding. This goal is achieved by partnering with technical and scientific universities and providing professional technical internships to international students.
The vision and global outlook of Dr. Karl T. Compton and the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology brought
IAESTE to the United States. Dr. Compton felt that MIT should explore ways in which its resources could be used to help rebuild
Western Europe after World War II.
In 1948 Earl Eames, a graduating senior in chemical engineering who had been active in student government, was called to Dr. Compton's office and asked if he would be interested in a job for a year as MIT's "roving representative" in Western Europe. Eames accepted and departed in the summer of 1948. In December 1948, Eames received a cable from Dr. Compton asking if he had yet learned of a new program called IAESTE, which had been founded the previous January in London. When Eames responded that he had not, Dr. Compton asked him to attend the next IAESTE conference planned for January 1949 in Copenhagen. Later the same year, under the auspices of the MIT student government, an IAESTE committee was set up in the fall. In 1950, the MIT IAESTE committee was admitted to IAESTE International. Between 1955 – 1960, Maynard Boring of the General Electric company and Chairman of the U.S. Engineering Manpower Commission and Dr. Sidney Ingram of Bell Telephone Labs, Engineers Council for Professional Development and the American Society for Engineering Education jointly asked the IIE in New York to assume administration and development of the program. IIE accepted and IAESTE United States moved to New York. The definition of ‘technical’ expanded to include, physical and natural sciences, architecture and agriculture.
In the mid 1960s, IAESTE received tax exempt status and became a not-for-profit corporation. U.S. employers began to express interest in practical training exchanges for fields other than technical fields. Seeing a broader need to be filled, the Board of Directors authorized a small effort to develop exchanges beyond those involved with IAESTE. As exchanges for individuals outside IAESTE expanded, the need for a name more reflective of the organization's activities became apparent. In the late 1960s, a separate office is established in New York and Robert Sprinkle, a member of the Committee became the Executive Director. In the 1980s, The Association for International Practical Training (AIPT) name was adopted, and thus continuing as the U.S. member of the international IAESTE organization.
In the mid 1990s, a system of Local Committees (LC) is developed to create a national infrastructure to operate inbound and outbound programs nationally. The first LC is established at the University of Michigan. The last ten years have been dedicated to developing and strengthening the relationship between LCs and the IAESTE United States national office. IAESTE United States is currently administered by Cultural Vistas, headquartered in New York City.