The South East Asian Association for Institutional Research can trace its roots to a meeting held on September 5, 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was organized by Dr. Raj Sharma, the founder and inaugural president of the Australian Association for International Research, and a group of senior academics from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The group decided to form the Interim Management Committee and organize a conference the following year.

     The first conference of SEAAIR was held on October 24, 2001 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kuching, Malaysia. Dr. Zoraini Wati Abas was elected the first president of the Association. The second conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since then, SEAAIR has held an international conference with different themes each year.

2003: Bangkok, Thailand, "Institutional Research and Quality Development in Higher Education"
2004: Wenzhou, China, "Entrepreneurial University of the 21st Century"
2005: Bali, Indonesia, "Higher Education Reform, Facing Local and Global Changes"
2006: Langkawi, Malaysia, "Transforming Higher Education for the Knowledge Society"
2007: Bangkok, Thailand, "Suffiency and Sustainability in Higher Education - An Agenda"
2008: Surabaya, Indonesia, "Institutional Capacity Building Towards Higher Education Competitive Advantage"
2009: Penang, Malaysia, "The Future of Higher Education"
2010: Tagaytay City, Philippines, "Towards Global-ASEAN Institutional Research Strategic Alliances"
2011: Chiang Mai, Thailand, "University Social Responsibility: Pathways to Excellence"
2012: Sabah, Malaysia, "Culturalising Excellence in Higher Education"
2013: Jogjakarta, Indonesia, "Entrepreneurship in Higher Education and Institutional Effectiveness"
2014: Legazpi, Philippines, "Cross-Cultural Education for AEC 2015: Realizing Possibilities, Defining Foundations"
2015: Hanoi, Vietnam, "Internationlisation and Inclusivity of Higher Education in South East Asia: Perspective, Practices and Pragmatics"
2016: Bangkok, Thailand, "Academic and Social Engagements in Higher Education"

     The aim of SEAAIR is to make advances in research so that there is better understanding, planning, and operations in post-secondary education in the region. It also encourages academics to conduct comparative research for the development of education in South East Asia.