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The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs was established in 1961, with the aim of providing a nursery of ideas on what direction Nigeria should take on international affairs. Since inception, the Institute has been organising Conferences, Roundtables and Lectures. These are aimed at addressing current foreign policy issues and anticipating others still on the horizon.

The Institute is a specialized instrument of foreign policy formulation in Nigeria. It serves as an intellectual base upon which decision-makers rely for informed opinion and expert advice in order to make rational choices between contending policy options.

The administration of the Institute is organized at two levels: 

The Governing Council, which comprises eminent Nigerians from the academia.  The Management Committee is chaired by the Director-General with the Directors of  Research, Library, Special Duties and Administration as members. There are four statutory departments: Directorate, Research and Studies,  Library and Documentation and Administration and Finance.

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