History of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum: A Very Special Society Devoted to Allergy and Immunology

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2021;182(10):895-903. doi: 10.1159/000515927. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


The Collegium Internationale Allergologicum (CIA) was founded on 15 October 1954 in London by a group of 48 international allergists and immunologists from 18 countries of all continents, among them such distinguished scientists as Carl Prausnitz-Giles, Sir Henry Dale, Paul Kallos, and many others. Contrary to other international associations in the field, this Collegium limited the number of members in order to allow more intense and open discussions in "the humble spirit of scientific enquiry, friendly cooperation, good fellowship and professional relationships in the field of allergy" as stated in the statutes. It is not possible to apply for membership, and one has to be proposed by at least 2 CIA members and invited to present at least once at a symposium. Over the decades, a rhythm of biannual symposia developed, the 32nd held in Palma de Mallorca in October 2018. These symposia went around the world from London, Rome, Copenhagen, New Orleans, Puerto Vallarta, Nantucket, Hakone, Konstanz, Goeteborg, and Sorrento, just to name a few places. Preferably they were held on islands such as Capri, Corfu, Martinique, Curacao, Bornholm, Malta, and Ischia in order to make it more difficult for people to arrive late or leave early. It is expected that participants stay over the whole length of the 5-day symposium. On these symposia, it is good custom to also present unpublished data, so participants get the latest news. The most important developments in the field of Allergy and Clinical Immunology have been discussed at early stage and sometimes by speakers who later won the Nobel Prize. While all presentations are equal, be it oral communications or posters, there are 3 special lectures, namely the Carl Prausnitz lecture, the Paul Kallos lecture, and a "Relaxing from Immunology" lecture which can be devoted to any interesting topic not necessarily related to medicine or allergy. Since many years, the contents of the symposium are published in a proceedings volume, over a longtime printed within the "International Archives of Allergy and Immunology" which until now is the official journal of the Collegium. Participants agree that in the flood of more and more scientific congresses and larger events, the CIA Symposia are unique in their openness and friendly scientific interchange.

Keywords: Allergy; Collegium Internationale allergologicum; History; Immunology; Symposia.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology / history*
  • Congresses as Topic / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Societies, Scientific / history*