IAAS members all over the world celebrate the IAAS 60th Birthday this year!
To read about their celebration day on the 21st of March 2017, you can check out the report: www.iaasworld.org/worldwide-celebration-of-the-iaas-60th-birthday.

How did IAAS started 60 years ago?

IAAS was established in a decade in which nations all over the world were still recovering from the harsh devastation and suffering resulting from the Second World War. However, young people strongly fostered hope for progress, peace and stability. Students in the field of agriculture decided to come together and create a new international student platform by establishing IAAS more than half a century ago 1957 in Tunis.

In this decade, students from all disciplines started to acknowledge their role as agents of change in society, and decided to come together to share values. They realised that only by sharing diversity, they could really cooperate to build a better world, a world in peace, harmony and freedom. Thats why AIESEC, IAESTE, IFMSA, IVSA and IAAS have been established in less than one decade.

The early beginning


  • 1954 The International Union of Students and the Romania Union sent invitations to students in agriculture all over the world for a meeting in Bucharest. It is the first attempt known of an international cooperation between students in agriculture.
  • 1956 In Paris an international week of study on agriculture took place. Students decided that UGET, the Tunis student union, would organise an international seminar on agriculture in summer 1957. The same year an international seminar for agricultural students was held in Norway.

Year of establishment


1957 was the real beginning of the IAAS, which was then called AIEA (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Agriculture) and had French as the working language.

Independent from the decisions made during the international meeting in Paris, the Students council from the Netherlands (NSR) also planned to organise an international seminar on agriculture from 22 till 29 June 1957. Around December 1956, NSR (Netherlands) and UGET (Tunis) got to know about each other’s plans and this caused a conflict. UGET didn’t like the idea of having two international seminars so close to each other. However, several careful and diplomatic dialogues per mail, and a meeting in Leiden (the Netherlands) on 15–16 March 1957, resulted in a cooperation and a tight friendship between Tahar Belkhodja (president of UGET) and R. van den Berg (president of NSR). The NSR decided to cancel its congress in Wageningen in favour of the one in Tunis and to cooperate intensively with UGET. It seems to be just an anecdote, but there are reasons to believe that this cooperation between The Netherlands and Tunisia was crucial for the continuity of IAAS in the first years. When the Dutch cancelled their seminar, they asked all participants to come to the seminar in Tunis instead. This seminar turned out to be the founding World Congress of IAAS and Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and of course Tunisia were the participating countries. A few other countries attended the congress as observers. Mr. Tahar Belkhodge (Tunisia) was elected as President and Mr. Fehr (France) was elected as Secretary General.

Also, the Dutch students were well prepared to organize a seminar in the Netherlands in 1958, which became the second world congress of IAAS.

Chronology of the annual World Congresses


  • 1957 First International Congress in Tunis (Tunisia), foundation of IAAS (then AIEA) by Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and Tunisia
  • 1958 2nd Congress in Wageningen (The Netherlands)

New members: Belgium, Denmark, France, Sweden
Special event: The Exchange Program was created.

  • 1959 3rd Congress in Vollebek (Norway)
  • 1960 4th Congress in Rehovot (Israel); Topic: Intensive Agriculture

New member: Israel

  • 1961 5th Congress in Bern (Switzerland)

New members: Austria, Great Britain, Nigeria, Portugal

  • 1962 6th Congress in Uppsala (Sweden); Topic: Agriculture and Cooperation

New member: Yugoslavia

Special event: Executive Committee of the association formed by the President, Vice President and Secretary General, working in headquarters in Leuven (Belgium), also Control Committee formed by four members and national representatives elected

  • 1963 7th Congress in Brussels (Belgium); Topic: Belgian Agriculture

New members: Italy, Spain

Special event: First issue of the JOINT, an IAAS Magazine edited by the Secretary General and a board; few issues every year

  • 1964 8th Congress in Italy; didn’t take place due to difficulties in the Italian Student Union
  • 1965 9th Congress in Leeds (England)
  • 1966 10th Congress in Vienna (Austria); Topic: Austrian Agriculture
  • 1967 11th Congress in Rehovot (Israel); Topic: Agriculture in Israel
  • 1968 12th Congress in Helsinki (Finland); Topic: Farming and Forestry in cooperation in Finland

New member: Ireland

  • 1969 13th Congress in Zurich (Switzerland); Topic: Special Problems in Swiss Agriculture

Special event: First time a Responsible Meeting held at half term in Wageningen

  • 1970 14th Congress in Denmark; Topic: Pollution Problems
  • 1971 15th Congress in Stuttgart and Kiel (Germany); Topic: Higher Education in Agriculture
  • 1972 16th Congress Oxford (Great Britain); Topic: The changing role of Agriculture in the developed countries

New members: Hungary, Poland
Special event: Opening of an IAAS Information office in Sweden and IAAS got liaison status with the FAO as first cooperation with an international body next to other students associations

  • 1973 17th Congress in Ghent (Belgium); Theme: Social aspects of Agriculture

New member: India

  • 1974 18th Congress in Uppsala (Sweden); Topic: Underemployment – The Challenge for Rural development
  • 1975 19th Congress in Langnau (Switzerland); Topic: Langnau in the Emmental Switzerland
  • 1976 20th Congress in Rehovot (Israel); Topic: Agriculture in the Desert

Special event: Development Fund created to assist members with fewer opportunities to attend our meetings, originally with support of the FAO

  • 1977 21st Congress in Norway; Topic: Agriculture and Pollution

New member: Uganda

  • 1978 22nd Congress in Helsinki (Finland); Topic: The Changing role of Rural Population

New member: Sudan

  • 1979 23rd Congress in Nairobi (Kenya); Topic: The Role of Agricultural Institutes in adapting education for Rural Development

New members: Kenya, Togo

  • 1980 24th Congress in Galicia (Spain); Topic: The Agrarian Extension and Training in Rural Development

New member: Liberia

  • 1981 25th Congress in Warsaw (Poland); Theme: Agriculture and Food Production Today and Tomorrow

New member: Zambia

  • 1982 26th Congress in Copenhagen (Denmark); Topic: Farming as a way of living
  • 1983 27th Congress in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg; Topic: Intensifying Agriculture meets National and International Responsibilities
  • 1984 28th Congress in Wageningen (The Netherlands); Topic: Wageningen, an International Centre of Agricultural Research and Education

New members: Ghana, Tanzania

  • 1985 29th Congress in Austria and Switzerland; Topic: The agriculture in two Alpine countries and their International Relations

New member: Egypt

  • 1986 Congress in Egypt; was cancelled by Egypt
  • 1987 30th Congress in Lille (France); Topic: French Agriculture

Special event: First time to mention the formation of permanent working groups

  • 1988 31st Congress in Perugia (Italy); Topic: Mediterranean Agriculture: Marginal Areas, Typical Production and its Transformation

New member: Benin

  • 1989 32nd Congress in Nairobi (Kenya); Topic: Agriculture, Underproduction and its Future Prospects in Developing Countries

New member: Thailand

  • 1990 33rd Congress in Gödöllő, Hungary; Topic: Cooperatives have the Future

Special event: WOCAs created as Working Camps aiming at linking the theoretical aspect of our academic education with more practical experience

  • 1991 34th Congress in Thailand; Topic: South-Asian Agricultural System: its problems and future prospects

New candidate member: Indonesia
Special event: first WOCAs took place in Hungary and Portugal

  • 1992 35th Congress in Belgium. Seminar in Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • 1993 36th Congress in Brazil
  • 1994 37th Congress in Slovenia and Switzerland; Topic: Challenges of Marginal Areas

New members: Guatemala, Armenia, Latvia, Croatia, Sri Lanka

  • 1995 38th Congress in Denmark; Topic: Cooperatives in Agriculture-The Danish Way

New candidate members: Angola, Sierra Leone

  • 1996 39th Congress in Indonesia; Topic: Tropical Agriculture in the Global Market
  • 1997 40th Congress in Croatia; Topic: Food Security

New candidate members: Uruguay, Benin, United States, Ukraine, Belarus
New full members: Bulgaria, Paraguay, Yugoslavia

  • 1998 41st Congress in Togo; Topic: Cash Crops and Agricultural dynamics

New candidate members: Zimbabwe, Senegal
New full members: Benin, Liberia, Mexico, Zambia

  • 1999 42nd Congress in Norway and Sweden; Topic: Food and Health

New full members: Belarus, Zimbabwe, Senegal

  • 2000 43rd Congress in Mexico; Topic: The Water Issue
  • 2001 44th Congress in Portugal; Topic: Sustainable Development

New candidate members: Russia, Algeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka

  • 2002 45th congress in Indonesia; Topic: Agribusiness now and then
  • 2003 46th Congress in Belgium; Topic: Food Quality, a Challenge for North and South, in cooperation with the FAO
  • 2004 47th Congress in Croatia and Italy; Topic: Culture, Tradition and Typical food: The Journey Through Mediterranean Agriculture, in cooperation with the FAO
  • 2005 48th Congress in Togo and Ghana; Topic: Combating Hunger in developing countries: the role of Agricultural Research
  • 2006 49th Congress in Malaysia (organized by IAAS Denmark); Topic: Sustainable Development – Environmental Protection and Agricultural Innovation
  • 2007 50th Congress in Germany and Switzerland; Topic: Food Quality and Food Security – the challenge is ours!
  • 2008 51st Congress in Belarus; Topic: Rural tourism as solution for employment, local development and environment: principles to practices
  • 2009 52nd Congress in Mexico; Topic: Biodiversity now, Food for tomorrow
  • 2010 53rd Congress in Indonesia; Topic: The power of local resources to support food, energy and trade:food security, renewable resources, free trade
  • 2011 54th Congress in Macedonia; Topic: Food identity
  • 2012 55th Congress in Belgium and Germany; Topic: Face the Future! Agriculture from a Different Point of View
  • 2013 56th Congress in Chile; Topic: Producing Food for the World

New candidate members: Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia

  • 2014 57th Congress in United States; Topic: Farming for the Future

New candidate members: Kenya, Nepal, Niger

  • 2015 58th Congress in The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy; Topic: How to feed the planet?

New candidate members: Ecuador, Mali, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Uganda
New full members: Ghana, Japan, Niger

  • 2016 59th Congress in Indonesia; Topic: Plant your future

New candidate members: Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Peru, Serbia, Tunisia, Uruguay
New full members: Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe

  • 2017 60th Congress in Mexico; Topic: Mexico 360

New candidate members: Tajikistan, Senegal
Special event: First International Conference for Youth in Agriculture (ICYA) was organized by the Executive Committee in Leuven, Belgium and the IAAS Study Abroad Program was started.