The Aleut International Association (AIA) is an Alaska Native not-for-profit corporation, 501(c)(3), registered in the State of Alaska, United States of America, in 1998.
AIA was formed by the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, U.S., one of the thirteen regional not-for-profit Alaska Native corporations created as a result of Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act in 1971, and the Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North of the Aleut District of the Kamchatka Region of the Russian Federation (AIPNADKR). AIA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of four Alaskan and four Russian Aleuts under the leadership of a president. The current president is Arlene Gundersen.
The organization was formed to address environmental and cultural concerns of the extended Aleut family whose wellbeing has been connected to the rich resources of the Bering Sea for millennia. Russian and American Aleuts are separated by distances, borders and the International Date Line but united by the great Bering Sea and the North Pacific. Today, not only does the Aleut community share the resources of the region but the environmental problems as well. The need to understand global processes, such as trans-boundary contaminants transport, the impacts of climate change, and the effects of commercial fisheries on the ecosystem of the Bering Sea to name a few, was an impetus in joining in the work of international fora where AIA is actively pursuing collaboration with governments, scientists, and other organizations in developing programs and policies that could improve the wellbeing of the Aleut people and their environment. AIA was admitted as a permanent participant of the Arctic Council in 1998 and was granted Special Consultive Status by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2004. In addition, AIA is an accredited Non Governmental Organization (NGO) with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).