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Institute on World Affairs Records

Identifier: MS-0348

Scope and Contents

The Institute on World Affairs (IWA) Records documents the work of the IWA with local, national, and international communities in accomplishing its goal of community and campus outreach and education on the subject of international affairs and relations.  The collection dates from approximately 1951-2005, with the bulk of documents created in the 1950s and 1960s.  It consists primarily of paper records, including correspondence and subject files, generated over the 50+ year course of the group's existence, and has been divided into 5 series: Correspondence, Subject Files, Press Clippings, Photographs, and Institute Publications.  There are no subseries.

The Correspondence series includes records dated from 1951-2005.  These files primarily document the IWA's process of selecting and engaging speakers for upcoming IWA Sessions, as well as the process and details involved in assisting speakers with traveling to and staying in San Diego after they have been officially engaged.  This includes scheduling, reservation-making, etc.  The correspondence also includes limited records documenting the IWA's formative years.  Some clippings are scattered through the series.  Materials are filed chronologically by year.

The Subject Files series dates from 1943-2005.  It primarily documents events and other activities the IWA participated in over the course of its existence.  These include materials relating to Annual Conferences, a guest book signed by speakers and panel members, information and publicity relating to speakers, some transcripts, and promotional materials.  Also included is historical information on the early and formative years of the IWA.  Some clippings are scattered through the series.  Records are filed alphabetically by file name.

The Press Clippings series dates from 1951-1991.  The clippings document both the public activities of the IWA, as well as its profile in the community and on campus.  They primarily consist of informational articles about the IWA itself, as well as announcements for different speakers visiting to participate in the Institute.

The Photographs date almost exclusively from the 1960s, when Dr. Minos Generales was director of the IWA.  While only some are captioned and dated, they primarily document IWA sessions, speakers, and other events.  Some are attached to the loose pages of a scrapbook which was dissembled before arrival at the archives.  Because the series is so small, and because many photographs are not dated or captioned, they have not been organized at the item-level.

The Institute Publications series dates from 1961-1969, and includes exclusively those materials published by the IWA on such varied subjects as the IWA's annual proceedings, and the role of warfare, human rights, and the world economy in international relations.  They form  a record of the topics the IWA's speakers and guests focused on and studied.  They are not foldered, and are filed chronologically.


  • Creation: 1943-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1950-1969


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

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.


3.13 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Correspondence, 1951-2005

II. Subject/Office Files, 1943-2005

III. Press Clippings, 1951-1991

IV. Photographs

V. Institute Publications, 1961-1969

Source of Acquisition

Institute on World Affairs



Institute on World Affairs Records
Ellen E. Jarosz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US