Indian Council of World Affairs
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About Us >> History of the Council

History of the Council:


The Indian Council of World Affairs was established in 1943 by a group of Indian intellectuals as a think tank. It was registered as a non-official, non-political and non-profit organisation under the Registration of Societies Act 1860. By an Act of Parliament in 2001, the Indian Council of World Affairs has been declared an institution of national importance. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio President of ICWA.

It is devoted exclusively for the study of international relations and foreign affairs. Historic international conferences like 'Asian Relations Conference' in 1947 under the leadership of freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu and 'United Nations and the New World Order' in 1994 have been held by this think tank in which world renowned dignitaries addressed huge gatherings of intellectuals. Scores of conferences, meetings and panel discussions have been organised by the Council in its elegant building called "Sapru House".

The first Prime Minister of independent India, late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of India's foreign policy, was a regular visitor to Sapru House to confer with noted scholars, intellectuals and academics.

The historic 'Asian Relations Conference' was held under the auspices of the ICWA in March 1947 under the leadership of Sarojini Naidu and was addressed by Mahatma Gandhi.

In 2009, an initiative was taken to commemorate the 'Asian Relations Conference' and a conference titled "Emerging China: Prospects for Partnerships in Asia" was organized. It was addressed by 25 foreign scholars from 15 countries and was attended by academics, diplomats and policymakers.

Spread over two acres of land in the heart of New Delhi, Sapru House has lush green lawns with high quality infrastructure. The present building was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1955. It is named after the eminent Indian Jurist and intellectual, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, the founder President of the Council. A number of renowned and prestigious Indian think tanks and organisations like the "Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses" (IDSA), "School of International Studies" (which was later merged with the famous Jawaharlal Nehru University), "Children's Film Society of India" and the "Press Institute of India" were established in this building. The Council has a state of the art Auditorium with a seating capacity of 380 persons. It has a separate Conference Room and a Conference Hall where panel discussions and seminars are held regularly. International personalities come and address meetings at Sapru House on regular basis.