History. The International Federation of Communication Associations (IF) came into being after extensive deliberations among the representatives of various national communication associations. Rather than joining one large association and incurring considerable expenses for individuals to travel to its meetings, the founding members of the International Federation thought that the community of communication scholars is served best when the autonomy of existing associations is preserved. The Federation has grown since into a loose family of communication associations, helping local communication scholars to develop their own agendas and approaches to the study of communication, and sharing their results worldwide.

Members. The Federation currently counts 17 organizations as its members. It does not compete with associations that organize regular meetings for individual researchers to discuss ideas, publish research, and ready young scholars for academic or practical jobs. It merely adds an international web to what these organizations do best on their own. Federation members must be democratically organized and committed to the scientific study of human communication. They pledge not to discriminate against minorities and the underprivileged. Membership is free and decided by vote. Only active participation is expected. Among the current members of the Federation are the largest communication associations. Through these alone, the vast majority of communication scholars in the world are represented in the Federation.

Projects. Scholars in one country may not appreciate the vast intellectual resources available in others, and often have no idea of the inequities in facilities for communication research available world-wide. Bridging these gaps on an organizational level and taking individual steps to share resources with scholarly communities that might benefit from them are acts of communication in their own right. The International Federation makes a difference by pursuing several practical ideas. The Federation
" Facilitates the self-organization of communities of communication scholars
" Makes communication associations aware of each other, of their scholarship, and of their proceedings
" Publishes a newsletter that is electronically distributed for publication in recipient countries
" Encourages sharing scarce resources, for example by exchanging communication journals across communication associations
" Arranges making back issues of communication journals available to libraries and institutions in areas of developing communication scholarship
" Sponsors conferences on issues of interest to several Federation members
" Is ready to help communities of communication scholars in trouble - much like any family would is for its members

Invitation. Communication enables us to accomplish more than we can imagine. The International Federation of Communication Associations invites communication scholars from all over the world to realize their potential for scholarship and practice and become part of our international family of communication associations whose members inquire into our most precious human ability: communication.

Klaus Krippendorff