The Association for the Study of the World Refugee Problem in the Research Center for European Refugees - AER - was founded in 1950 and held its first General Assembly in 1951. At the General Assembly in 1952 it was decided to found a German section. It was registered in the following year as an association based in Munich. In the mid-1950s, researchers decided not to limit their research activities exclusively to European refugee problems, and therefore also founded a research society for the world refugee problem. Since both companies were identical both in terms of personnel and organization, both companies were merged into a company - the AWR - in 1961.
The objectives of AWR as an international umbrella organization promotes deepening and coordinating research on the world refugee problem. In this way, it provides scientific and scientific knowledge to national and international organizations and authorities to resolve the problems of flight, displacement and migration. As a non-governmental organization, she has an observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York and a consultative status with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. It is also in constant contact with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. The self-understanding of the AWR is based on seven basic principles, on which the work is orientated and which are also understood as the guiding principle of the organization.