The International Media Seminar began in 1996 as part of a Communications Studies class taught by Professors James Ettema and Lee Huebner at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. About two dozen students in the News and International Relations class spent a week in Paris in March.
It was about this time that the Center for the Study of International Communications was being established in Paris. Governed by a nine-person board of directors, with Huebner as chairman, the Center stepped in to handle the Paris arrangements for the International Media Seminar. Huebner, at the time, was interim president of the American University of Paris.
In 1997 and 1998, students from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and the American University of Paris joined their counterparts from Northwestern University. Missouri Southern State University sent 18 students and two faculty members in 1999 as the total number of participants increased to 40.
With the help of Dr. Chad Stebbins, professor of journalism at Missouri Southern, the International Media Seminar expanded to two week-long sessions and 85 participants in 2000.
In 2007, the program expanded further as Professor Huebner moved to George Washington University, which started sending its own delegation to Paris. At the same time, however, Northwestern University has continued its active participation.
Seminar sessions have been fine-tuned each year to keep up with the changing issues and the particular interests of those who attend. Special attention has also been paid to structuring the social and touring side of the week for those who want that assistance.