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The Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (IDIA) was formally inaugurated on September 1, 2012 following the reorganization of the central government. It was originally established in January 1969 as the Foreign Service Training Institute (FSTI) before being renamed the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in May 1971.

In its two years of operation, the FSTI worked in makeshift offices set up in National Tsing Hua University's Yue-han Hall on Jinhua Street in Taipei. When it was renamed the Foreign Service Institute in May 1971, it was relocated to the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) before moving to the former Philippine embassy building on Ren-ai Road in July 1977. In October 2001, the FSI began construction of its own office building at this site, and moved its operations temporarily to the Central Baishi Building on Xinhai Road. In March 2004, it received approval from the Executive Yuan to establish the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (IDIA) organizing committee. On June 9 of that same year, its new office building was completed; and the FSI and the IDIA organizing committee moved into their new home.

In its early years, the FSI continued its predecessor's mission of providing introductory and language-skill classes for new foreign service recruits. In-service foreign-language and other specialized programs were offered in recent years to enhance MOFA personnel's expertise and proficiency in diplomacy and other areas including international conferences and negotiations. In addition, the FSI organized training courses for foreign service volunteers and public servants from other government agencies who were to be stationed abroad. Public diplomacy workshops were expanded to include the general public as a way of encouraging citizen participation in diplomatic work.

In anticipation of its transformation into the IDIA, the FSI began to concern itself with policy research and international exchanges. In the area of policy research, it formed strategic alliances with local academics and think tanks to host workshops and seminars, which provided direction for future policies. As for international exchanges, it strengthened collaboration with its counterparts in foreign countries, organized training programs for the diplomatic personnel of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, and provided Mandarin classes for foreign diplomats and their family members.