What is FIAV?

The Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques (FIAV) is an international federation of 52 regional, national, and multinational vexillological associations and institutions across the globe. The translations of FIAV’s French name into the other three official FIAV languages are the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (English), the Internationale Föderation Vexillologischer Gesellschaften (German), and Federación Internacional de Asociaciones Vexilológicas (Spanish).

FIAV unites those associations and institutions throughout the world whose object is the pursuit of vexillology, which is the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. FIAV’s purposes are: to create a strong bond among those associations and institutions and to encourage and coordinate their work, studies, and research; to promote the organization of International Congresses of Vexillology and to lend its support to their organizers; to encourage the creation in all countries of associations and institutions dedicated to vexillology; and to sanction international standards facilitating the development of these activities.

The idea for FIAV began with the informal “International League of Vexillologists,” formed on September 5, 1965 at the First International Congress of Vexillology held in Muiderberg, The Netherlands. The Congress was organized by Whitney Smith of the United States, Klaes Sierksma of The Netherlands, and Louis Mühlemann of Switzerland. The “Fédération internationale des associations de vexillologie” was provisionally organized on September 3, 1967 at the Second International Congress of Vexillology held in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. The FIAV flag, designed by Klaes Sierksma, was first hoisted during ICV 2 on Sunday, September 3, 1967, at the Institute Gottlieb Duttweller.

FIAV was officially created on September 7, 1969 at Boston University at the Third International Congress of Vexillology held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Since 1969, FIAV has sponsored the biennial International Congresses of Vexillology that have been held in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The current FIAV Board consists of Michel R. Lupant (President, first elected 1997) of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Charles A. Spain (Secretary-General, first elected 1997) of Houston, Texas; and Graham M.P. Bartram, (Secretary-General for Congresses, first elected 1999) of Ruislip (London).