by Harold Albert (ISB)
The seeds of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia School (IASAS) organization were planted long ago with sports exchanges that were arranged between many of the schools. For example Singapore American School (SAS) and International School Bangkok (ISB) participated in an annual multi-sport event called the Singapore-Bangkok Games that started in 1961. In 1980, the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) asked to participate in this event, creating what then became known as the Triangular Games. It was around this time that the idea of forming an athletic conference began to develop.
It was at a conference in Hong Kong in 1980 that the idea of IASAS really started. A number of interested individuals began tossing around some ideas of creating a larger, formally organized entity. Primarily spear-headed by the School Heads from ISKL, SAS and Jakarta International School (JIS), there was expressed a desire to begin an international athletics conference. It wasn’t long after that the Athletic Directors from schools in the region met at Singapore American School. The result, as we all know, was IASAS, which formally started in the fall of 1982. Along with International School Manila (ISM), the initial conference was made up of five schools: JIS, SAS, ISKL, ISB and ISM. Taipei American School (TAS) joined the group in 1986, creating the six-school conference that has flourished ever since. Originally the idea was limited to athletics, but at the urging of an art teacher from SAS, a cultural component was also instituted that very first school year.
In the early days the conventions included soccer & volleyball (first season), basketball & swimming (second season), softball & track and field (third season), as well as a cultural convention (dance, drama, debate, forensics, music and art) and even a mathematics competition. Over the years various activities were added to the agenda, and today the wide-ranging IASAS activities include:
- 1st Season: Cross-Country, Soccer, Volleyball
- 2nd Season: Basketball, Rugby/Touch, Swimming, Tennis
- 3rd Season: Badminton, Baseball, Softball, Track & Field, Golf
- Cultural Convention: Art/Drama/Dance, Forensics and Debate and Music
- Model United Nations
- IASAS Math
For everyone involved, students, coaches, administrators, parents and community members, IASAS is one of the most memorable times of any school year. As we enjoy the 38th year we can only thank those who came before and helped to create such a remarkable organisation, and can only hope that it will prosper for many decades to come.
Assistant Athletic Director
International School Bangkok