The idea of creating an Institute for the Americas in order to deal with child-related issues and serve as a centre for the study, action and dissemination of information on child affairs was conceived by a Uruguayan paediatrician, Professor Dr. Luis Morquio. During the Second American Congress on Children’s Issues held in Montevideo in 1919, Professor Morquio proposed the creation of an Inter-American Office for the Protection of Children. The Third American Congress on Children’s Issues held in Rio de Janeiro in 1922 took up the initiative and stated: “The Third American Congress on Children’s Issues is awaiting the creation of an Inter-American Office for the Protection of Children, similar to the one existing in Brussels”.
On July 24, 1924, the National Administration Council of Uruguay created the Office and appointed Professor Morquio as its Honorary Director. The creation of this Office was made official during the Fourth Congress held in Chile in October of that same year, under the name of International American Institute for the Protection of Children, based in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Three years later, on June 9, 1927, ten countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, United States of America, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela) signed the Charter of the Institute, thus formalizing its incorporation.
During the inaugural academic event, several speeches were made by members of the International Council and national authorities. Amongst them, that of the Minister of Public Instruction, Enrique Rodríguez Fabregat, who referred to the foundation of the International American Institute for the Protection of Children as “the most significant and generous act of our time”.
In 1949, the Institute joined the Organization of American States (OAS) as a Specialized Organization. This was an essential step, which led to its consolidation as a regional technical point of reference in children’s issues, and as a coordinating body in the search for consensus and commitments on the part of governments.