News & Press: InSider

Internationalization: Who We Are

Thursday, April 11, 2013  

There are many associations our size (or larger) but few can claim the extent of our geographic reach.  Our 4000-strong membership extends to 93 countries representing every continent except Antarctica (and some of us have visited there as well).  As you might imagine, given the association’s roots, the US has by far the largest proportion of the membership (43%) followed by Germany, China, Australia and Canada.  Interesting, there are only 80 members total in the 41 least-represented countries.  Our membership is more evenly spread over our three regions with 49.5% in Region 1 followed by 28.7% in Region 2 and 21.8% in Region 3 (comprising over half of the world’s population).  Indeed, we have many opportunities for expansion.    

As you might well guess, our 4000 members are predominantly academic (96% including graduate students) with an additional 2400 undergraduate students in 68 student chapters representing 13 countries across all 3 regions.  Next month, out students will meet to compete and join together at the Student Chapter Leadership Conference and Competition hosted by Walmart.  We currently have an additional 33 country-based chapters and also 33 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which gives our membership an opportunity to have more focused interaction.  SIG membership totals over 2500 (recognizing some of us are active in multiple SIGs) but only 16% of our members currently have a chapter affiliation.  However, we do see continued interest in new chapters so look forward to more affiliations in the future.     

I encourage all of us to get out of the confines of our current lives and experience the range of SIGS, Chapters and countries that represent our membership.  Each has its own merits.  I have personally found that SIGs enable more intense issue examination and interest attention beyond that which can otherwise be attained.  Chapters provide a special opportunity for local community interaction and focus that is well appreciated.  SIGs and Chapters are especially important in sustaining membership interaction between opportunities to meet together in conference settings.  It is an intellectually rewarding experience that enables our far-flung membership to stay engaged and benefit from the range of services that membership offers.  For more information about starting a SIG or chapter, please contact Julie Kendall (VP of SIGs and Chapters) at    

Visits to member countries provide opportunities for cultural enrichment and learning that are unsurpassed, in my opinion.  I’ve personally had a presence in over 90 countries over the past 40 years but have to admit there are still many on our AIS list I have not visited.  On every occasion when I visit a new country (or re-visit an old), I’ve encountered friendly colleagues and come away feeling evermore optimistic about our future.  Through our research and teaching, we are in a position to influence generations to come and be recognized accordingly.  IS is a young discipline that increasingly reaches into virtually all aspects of everyone’s lives.  It is no wonder that our association reaches to most corners of the world with more engagement to look forward to on the horizon. 

Doug Vogel
AIS President

Connect With Us :