"To promote and reward scholarship and service among students and
 practitioners of international studies, international relations, global studies, and
  to foster integrity and creative performance in the conduct of world affairs."


Sigma Iota Rho was founded in 1984 by the Dean of the School of International Service at American University to recognize outstanding students in International Relations. In 1983 the Dean observed during an induction ceremony for Pi Gamma Mu, the national political science honorary society, that a high proportion of new inductees were actually IR majors, hence the need for a new honorary society. By 1984, the first chapter of Sigma Iota Rho was officially recognized by American University. In 1985, the Dean took the idea to the International Studies Association annual meeting where it was decided that there was enough interest to take the idea back to college campuses and to report on the level of interest at the next meeting. In 1987, a formal organizational meeting was held in Washington, DC, where Dean Olson was elected the first Director of Sigma Iota Rho. Twenty-six colleges presented petitions for establishemnt of local chapters, and thus Sigma Iota Rho was born. At the present time there are approximately 52 chapters of Sigma Iota Rho at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The Naming of Sigma Iota Rho

 The name of the honor society was carefully chosen by Professor Theodore Couloumbis to reflect characteristics which are realistically necessary  for the study of international relations.

Sigma stands for "synesi", which stands for prudence.
Iota stands for "ideosi", which stands for ideals.
Rho stands for "romi", which stands for power.
These three qualities are essential for the conduct of successful foreign policy.