At the end of the 1960s, the Academy established the "External Programme", which is normally held each year, in turn in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, upon the invitation of host governments or international organizations. It enjoys great popularity in the countries visited by the Academy. The programme is a means not only of developing knowledge of topics of international law relevant for the region, but also, by the way in which it is organized, of promoting mutual familiarity among students from countries in the region. The teaching methods are interactive, and are aimed at fostering dialogue and discussion that also take place in informal settings, during meals, encounters, visits and lectures. Since the beginning, several hundred lecturers and more than 1500 participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America have attended external sessions.
The External Programme is aimed at nationals of the host State, who are joined by approximantely 20 participants from countries in the region (residing in their own country). The travel expenses of the regional participants are funded by the Academy while the government of the host State takes care of their accommodation.