The conference was founded in 1977 by Carl Camp and George Chung, both political science professors at UNO. Since then, the conference has partnered with several organizations to provide a more informative and dynamic experience to attendees. These organizations include:
- National Association of Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA) 1983
- Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) 1978-1980
- European Studies Conference at UNO (ESC)
In 1983, Thomas Gouttierre, Dean of International Studies & Programs at UNO, became conference chair and has continued in that position since.
Until the 2000s, the conference was known as the Third World Studies Conference. In an effort to recognize developing countries' essential role in the evolving international economy, the conference was more appropriately renamed the Global Studies Conference.