The International Symposium on Polar Geomagnetic Phenomena was held in Souzdal, U.S.S.R., May 25–31, 1986. More than 200 scientists from 12 countries travelled to this ancient Russian city (which is located 200 km north of Moscow) to participate in this symposium. It was organized to provide a forum to discuss the most recent surface and space measurements and theories of plasma processes in the earth's auroral and polar regions. Surface magnetic field observations have been used since the last century to study electric currents in the polar regions, and they are now complemented by surface photometric and radar observations and by balloon, rocket, and satellite programs. The Soviet Union extends nearly halfway around the world above the Arctic circle, so it has been an ideal region from which to conduct measurements of polar geomagnetic phenomena.