How was ISHA created?
Our roots lie in the year 1989, when the Iron Curtain which had divided Europe for over forty years, began to fall. In this climate of rapid political change a group of Hungarian students took the initiative and started contacting their colleagues in different countries. They wanted to found an association that would allow students of history to come into contact, cooperate and exchange ideas, something that had not been possible before.
On 9th of May 1990 ISHA was founded in Budapest with a large student conferece. Such events continue to be held every year, together with different kinds of smaller seminars, regional activities and projects. 1999 saw the first issue of ISHA’s academic journal, Carnival.
In later years, ISHA’s International Secretariat was moved three times: first from the Hungarian capital to Leuven, Belgium, later to Zurich, Switzerland, and finally to Berlin, Germany, where it is still based today. After more than 25 years of existence, ISHA has members all over Europe and is working to spread to other continents.
How does ISHA work?
As an organization, ISHA consists of the following parts:
It consists of:
– Local sections with active and passive members
– The general assembly (GA)
– The International board (IB)
– The Council and other officials
At a local level, ISHA is represented by member groups, called sections. A section can be formed by, for example, by a local history student club or by any informal group of students who want to become active in ISHA. In case there are multiple universities in one city or two or more universities in close proximity, founding a joint section is usually the best way.
Each section consists of active and passive members. Active membership in ISHA is dependent an annual fee of 10 euros. Active members may participate in international events, and elect a delegate amongst themselves to represent the section during a General Assembly. The fee does not apply to first-time participants at international events. Passive members can support the section on a local level and are not required to pay the above-mentioned fee.
The General Assembly (GA) is the supreme decision-making body of ISHA. It is held at least once per year, usually during international seminars, and each section can send a delegate to participate. During the Annual Conference the General Assembly elects the ISHA Officials.
The sections from all over Europe organize meetings on their own initiative. They can host a seminar, a large Annual Conference or any other Europe-wide event. Many sections also organize smaller events on the local (at their university/country) or regional (with neighboring countries) levels. The International Board coordinates the activities of the sections and also opens up possibilities to participate in varying projects with ISHA’s international partner organizations.
The International Board is responsible for coordinating the organization, representing it towards other institutions, and for preparing the General Assemblies, in which ISHA’s policy is decided upon in debates and through voting by the delegates from each section. Every section has one vote, all counting equally.
The many tasks of the IB are carried out with assistance of the Council of ISHA and a group of other Officials (the Treasury Committee, Editor-in-Chief of Carnival, Webmaster and Archivist). The candidates for these positions come from the sections and are elected during the Annual Conference’s General Assembly.
Committees also function within the organization, each having a different function. Their members are not elected ISHA officials and any member of the organization can volunteer to join. The foundation and existence of a committee must be approved by a General Assembly annually. Currently ISHA has a PhD committee, a Project Management Committee, a Fund-raising committee, and an Alumni Network committee.