Although the idea of an international real estate society was first discussed at the 1991 American Real Estate Society (ARES) meeting, it took about two years to move from a steering committee to a draft constitution for the new organization. As a global umbrella organization, the members of International Real Estate Society (IRES) would be the sister real estate societies and IRES would act as the coordinating body. An Executive Director and other officers would be elected by the IRES Board of Directors, which is comprised of three representatives from each of the societies plus industry representatives. The original members were ARES, the European Real Estate Society (ERES), and the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society (PRRES). The umbrella has expanded since then to include the Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES) in 1997, the African Real Estate Society (AfRES) in 1998 and the Latin American Society (LARES) in 1999. Two attempts have been undertaken to form a Middle East Real Estate Society or a Middle East North Africa Real Estate Society.
During the formation of the society, Larry Wofford served as Acting President, Bert Kruijt as Acting Vice-President, Philip Ragan, Acting Secretary-Treasurer, and Art Schwartz, Acting Executive Director. Then at the first official IRES Board of Directors meeting held at the ARES meeting in 1994, Jerry Dasso was elected President, Graeme Newell President-Elect, Joe Albert Secretary-Treasurer, and Art Schwartz Executive Director. Graeme Newell took over as Executive Director in 1996, a position in which he served until 2012.
Normally, the Board of Directors meeting has rotated among the sister society’s annual meetings. IRES has sponsored only one independent conference, the IRES World Congress in Anchorage, Alaska in 2001, which generated profits to ensure a sound financial foundation. In addition, the sister societies pay annual dues based on the size of their membership. The funds are primarily used to provide travel grants to leaders of the emerging regions’ societies to allow them to participate in meetings, develop relationships and learn best practices.
IRES activities have evolved over the years. In 1997, IRES presented its first Service and Achievement Awards. It added the Corporate Excellence Award in 2001. The awards are given annually based on nominations and voting by sister society representatives. Starting in 2009, each year the IRES President organizes a series of panels at the sister society conferences to discuss an issue of global importance ranging from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis Effect on Real Estate Markets to Big Data. The organization has been assisting the societies with several initiatives, including creating young leaders’ and women’s groups to encourage involvement in each society’s growth and longevity. In addition, throughout the year, the IRES Board is working behind the scenes, sharing information amongst the societies and promoting international cooperation among real estate educators and researchers.
To acknowledge 25 years of international cooperation amongst the societies, IRES celebrated a year-long anniversary celebration in conjunction with its member societies. The celebration began at the ERES 25th anniversary conference in Reading, UK in June 2018 where Graeme Newell gave a keynote address about the IRES anniversary, Alastair Adair spoke about the ERES anniversary, and Karen Gibler moderated a panel on “ERES and IRES—The past 25 and the next 25 years”. The celebration continued continue through the PRRES joint 25-year celebration at which founders contributed videos to commemorate the anniversary and welcome delegates to the conference and concluded at the ARES 2019 meeting. As part of the celebration, IRES recognized and expressed gratitude to the many people who were involved in the creation of the organization, some of whom, unfortunately, are no longer with us. The list is long, but includes Joe Albert, John Baen, Gerald Brown, Jerry Dasso, Nick French, Don Jud, Bert Kruijt, Barry Needham, Graeme Newell, Piet G. du Plessis, Phil Ragan, Art Schwartz, Mike Wallace, Jim Webb, Larry Wofford, Elaine Worzala and Charles Wurtzebach. To commemorate their pioneering work, IRES presented a globe inscribed with the IRES name to those founders attending sister society meetings during the anniversary year.