What is IFISO?
IFISO - Informal Forum of International Student Organisations. IFISO is an informal forum for international officers of pluralistic, "non-political" and not-for-profit international (worldwide, European, etc.) student-run organizations.
Currently the IFISO network consists of a multi-disciplinary mix of 27 such NGOs, covering more than 2 million students all together.
These organizations are, as of 27 July 2010:
AEGEE, AIESEC, BEST, EDSA, EESTEC, EFPSA, EGEA, ELSA, ELASA, EMSA, EPSA, ESN, ESSA, ESTIEM, EUROAVIA, FISEC, IAAS, IADS, IAPS, IAPSS, IEEE, IFMSA, IFSA, IPSF, ISHA, IVSA and JADE.
While not being a formal entity (no by-laws, no obligations, no fees, no official spokespersons or officers, etc.), IFISO as an informal forum is still quite influential because it creates the necessary environment for international student organizations to collaborate on all possible levels in order to strengthen their capacities through knowledge sharing and identification of synergies.
History of IFISO
Before the foundation of IFISO, it existed as an organisation called IMISO – acronym for Intersectorial Meeting of International Student Organisations. IMISO was established in 1993 for cooperation between the international student organisations based in Europe. It was created in order to improve the chances to receive grants from the European Union and was registered as an organisation in Belgium in 1997. Upon failure in realising the projects that were the main reasons behind having a registered organisation, the dissolution of IMISO was officially done in February 2001. The Minutes of IMISO meetings can be found in the ESTIEM archives in Eindhoven.
In 2004, it was recognised that there is still a need for a platform to enable collaboration of student organisations. However, it was felt that a formal organisation would be limited by a need for by-laws, obligations, fees, official spokespersons or officers, etc.
Since member organisations were already limited in time and funding by commitments to their various organisations, an informal organisation was recognised as the ideal milieu. The Informal Forum of International Student Organisations (IFISO) was established. IFISO is an informal forum for international officers of pluralistic, "non-political" and non-profit international (worldwide, European, etc.) student-run organisations.
IFISO being informal does however not mean having no structure or lacking the ability to reach to agreements. In 2010 during the autumn IFISO meeting organised by ESTIEM Local Group Istanbul-Yildiz, agreements were made on certain procedures and different proposals for improving the organisational structure further were shaped at the Autumn IFISO Meeting in 2011 in Thessaloniki.