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The discourse regarding the legal status of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) is not new; in fact, it has already progressed throughout the last 100 years. However, most of the proposals to grant official status to INGOs, or to otherwise regulate their cross-border activity, are relatively unknown to international lawyers. A perusal of these initiatives against their unique historical background will prove highly significant in dissecting the complexities involved in formulating a comprehensive scheme for the regulation of INGOs. Innovatively, this work outlines and evaluates the sequence of attempts to propose a formal status for INGOs. It demonstrates how this historical contextual analysis provides an invaluable perspective that is essential for the informed review of contemporary schemes and theoretical trends, relevant to the consideration of the status of INGOs. Unfortunately, most contemporary writers and activists who deal with the normative aspects of INGO activity neglect this crucial perspective.