Greetings to all RAIA members around the world and a special Ramadan Kareem.
On Tuesday May 15, at the Institute AGM in Melbourne, history was made for the newest Chapter of the Institute, the International Chapter. Amendments to the Constitution were then ratified, and the new Chapter now stands shoulder to shoulder with the Institute’s eight State and Territory Chapters. I’d also like to congratulate Justin Hill on his election to the National Council and Board of the Institute. A long term member of the Institute and a Fellow, Justin has been an active participant in the International Chapter of the Institute for many years and is a former Chapter Chair.
Formerly known as the International Area Committee, the IAC was re-established some 12 years ago by the Institute as a body to properly acknowledge, engage with, and represent its significant overseas membership, under the direct control of the National Council and Executive.
Through ensuing years, and with the strong encouragement of many National Presidents and the executive, the IAC was challenged to align itself with Institute goals, foster links between the Institute and overseas architectural organisations, and to transform itself towards attaining full Chapter status, despite its very different circumstances to the other Chapters. This began with a full study of its membership diaspora, which was presented to National Council, and then with the founding of the biennial William J Mitchell Prize. The Prize recognises the noted work of members in the international arena, in fields parallel to architectural practice, such as in publishing, photography, academia and research or in international relations.
Following this, the IAC then launched its own annual awards program, now in its 4th year. It also launched a recurring series of international events for its members, called ‘Boarding Pass’, which have since taken place in London, Berlin, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and this year in Dubai.
Much of the International Chapter membership holds parallel membership of other national architectural Institutes, and so are well connected around the globe, bringing a wider experience of the practice of architecture to the Institute. Many have enduring links to Australia, through education or business connections, which the International Chapter seeks to reinforce. These connections, together with the important links to Global and Commonwealth organisations established over many years, eventually benefit the whole of the Institute, particularly in how it is regarded in, and how it eventually interacts with, the rest of the architectural world.
Paul Logsdon FRAIA