Established as a semi-autonomous body in 1998, the Institute of Foreign Affairs started working as a supporting unit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal. Previously the Institute was attached to the Division of the United Nations and International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, in 1996 a High Profile Recommendation Commission headed by a well-known former Foreign Secretary Mr Uddav Dev Bhatt recommended a series of reforms for the improvement of the Institute giving the present shape of the organization to make it efficient and effective to let it work as an organization to provide feedbacks considered necessary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Besides, the Institute is made responsible for managing and providing training as required for officials and officers working under the provision of Foreign Service. Thus, with the twin objectives of providing feedback to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also managing training, the Institute has been operating its activities since its establishment more than two decades ago.
During the period the following personalities have worked as its Executive Directors:
1. Prof Dr Mohan Prasad Lohani March 14, 1998 – March 13, 2001
2. Prof Shridhar Khatri October 12, 2001 – July 25, 2002
3. Mr Narayan Das Shrestha August 2002 – October 1, 2004
4. Dr Nischal Nath Pandey June 1, 2005 – May 7, 2006
5. Prof Dr Gopal Prasad Pokharel Dec 18, 2006 – Dec 31, 2009
6. Mr Tika Jung Thapa February 25, 2010 – December 18, 2011
7. Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari March 16, 2012 – April 6, 2016
8. Prof Dr Panna Kaji Amatya April 19, 2016 – 2018
9. Mr Rajesh Shrestha April 2019- to date
It may be noted that Mr. Narayan Das Shrestha worked as Acting Executive Director at the Institute twice soon after the end of terms of Prof. Dr Mohan Prasad Lohani once and Prof. Dr. Sridhar Khatri's resignation the second time.
During its existence since 1998, the Institute has published 56 books and booklets on subjects ranging from the foreign policy activities and diplomatic performances of Nepal to the management of training for officials and officers working under Foreign Service.
The Institute has also provided orientation programmes to the Consul Generals and Ambassadors designated for various cities and countries of the world during the time of writing, two more publications – one related to the Nepal-United Kingdom Relations and the other with SAARC's political and economic perspectives are underway. Efforts to streamline training courses and their practices to make them productive and truly service rendering are being made in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Administrative Staff Training College of the Government of Nepal.
(Photograph: Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari, 7th Executive Director of IFA, March 16, 2012 – April 6, 2016)