British International Studies Association (BISA) was proposed by the British Coordinating Committee for International Studies (BCCIS) in 1973, following much debate and discussion about creating a multi disciplinary forum for the study of international affairs. In Jan 1974 an inaugural meeting was held at the 14th Bailey Conference on International Studies at the University of Surrey, and at that time, a draft interim constitution was agreed. The first, and an interim executive committee was:
Professor A Buchan Chairman, RJ Jones Secretary, Susan Strange Treasurer, Professor PA Reynolds, Professor G Goodwin, Professor D Wrightman, Dr CM Mason, Dr T Taylor, Professor A James and Professor J Spence.
The Interim Committee proposed that BISA should serve the needs, and reflect the interests, of those engaged in research and teaching of international studies at advanced levels. The following members were Co-opted onto the committee at the first Executive committee meeting 23rd January 1974 Professor I MacGibbon, Professor Colin Cherry, Professor Dilks, Dr M Nicholson and P Oppenheimer.
The BISA Foundation Conference was entitled "The New Dimensions of Foreign Policy", and was held at Lincoln College, Oxford. On 2nd January 1975 the first AGM was held and that was the moment at which BISA was formally founded. The Association's new journal the British Journal of International Studies was estabilished under the editorship of Professor J.E Spence, published by Longman's. The Interim Constitution was amended and adopted and the Interim executive committee was elected for a further year.
At the 2nd AGM, held during the BISA conference at Birmingham on the 17th December 1975, the Chairman reported that the Association had acquired charitable status. That year also saw, the publication of the first volume of the Association's journal. Notably, by that second meeting, membership had increased from 80 members in January 1975 to 170 in December 1975. It was proposed that a newsletter be set up under the editorship of Dr Trevor Taylor for a 1 year trial period.
At the 13th meeting of the Executive Committee 2nd April 1976, the untimely death of the First BISA Chairman Professor Alistair Buchan was announced: the minutes record the Committee's great appreciation of the contribution that Professor Buchan had made throughout the formative years of the Association. Sadly, over the intervening years a number of the founding committee have also passed away, including more recently Professor Susan Strange, in October 1998, after whom the Association's book prize has been named, and Professor Michael Nicholson, after whom the Association's Doctoral Thesis Prize is named.