The initial idea of a global organization for the field was first discussed at the ASIL-IELG's November 2006 conference, aptly held at the historic Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Shortly thereafter, some of the participants at that conference put together the Founding Committee, and then the Founding Executive Council. Subsequently, on May 24-25 2007, there was a planning meeting at the LSE to allow the Founding Committee, Executive Council and others to discuss our shared vision for SIEL. The input we received from the participants at that meeting has helped us to clarify and advance our vision of what the SIEL will do and be, and how it ought to be structured and governed going forward.
Our inaugural conference, along with the formal launch of SIEL, was held in July 2008, at the Centre on Trade and Economic Integration, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Professor Don McRae of the University of Ottowa served as the Interim President of SIEL. The Co-Chairs of the Founding Committee, Andrew Lang and Colin Picker, led a fifteen-member Founding Committee comprising Lorand Bartels, Tomer Broude, Isabelle Bunn, Melaku Desta, Devashish Krishnan, Simon Lester, Meredith Kolsky Lewis, Bryan Mercurio, Junji Nakagawa, Federico Ortino, Amy Porges, Michelle Ratton Sanchez, Chantal Thomas, Todd Weiler, and Galina Zukova.
The Founding Executive Council comprised (in alphabetical order, with their affiliations at the time of foundation):