Interkulturelles Zentrum - Yesterday and today

The inaugural meeting of the Interkulturelles Zentrum takes place on 20 March 1987. The project receives financial support from private sector companies. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Youth and Family also provides initial funding. The founding members also contribute private equity in order to launch the Zentrum. Helmut Fennes, Irmgard Fennes, August Gächter, Siegrid Spudich-Sperl and Karl Vogelmann are elected members of the board.

The initial field of activities of the Zentrum includes the development of teaching material on intercultural learning in schools and various further education seminars for pedagogues.
In 1989, the Interkulturelles Zentrum is appointed by the Ministry of Education to develop international schoolchildren’s correspondence. The project "International School Partnerships” is launched a year later and the Interkulturelles Zentrum begins providing mediation and advice for international school partnerships on behalf of the Ministry.
Until today, more than 5,000 partnerships with schools all over the world have been arranged. Since 1994, additional funding for school exchange projects with schools in Central and Eastern Europe have been obtained.

In 1994, the Interkulturelles Zentrum was first appointed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Youth and Family as the Austrian national agency for the EU programme "Youth in Action".

In 1996, the Interkulturelles Zentrum is assigned with the coordination of the EU pilot project "European Voluntary Service". In 2000, the European Voluntary Service is finally integrated in the youth programme.

In 2000, the Interkulturelles Zentrum is awarded the "World Aware Award for Global Education” by the European Council.

In 2001, the Interkulturelles Zentrum launches the network youthNET focussing on South-eastern Europe. The objective is to expand collaboration between European Union and South-eastern European countries particularly in the field of youth. At the same time, this exchange aims to develop know-how and experience in the field of youth work. With the help of various training courses and networking meetings, youthNET supports projects by and for young people in the region.

In 2002, various activities on the theme of integration are organised in Lower Austria within the framework of the EQUAL project "Different Origin - Common Future”. For the first time, the Interkulturelles Zentrum provides guidance to four communes for the development of an integration concept.

In 2004, the geographical focus of youthNET is widened. The Interkulturelles Zentrum initiates the network youthNET CIS, which focuses on the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

In 2005, the Interkulturelles Zentrum is awarded with the World Aware Education Award by the North South Centre of the European Council for the project "Education for Global Citizenship”.

In 2006, the Academy of Central European Schools (aces) opens for the first time. The project was jointly developed by the Interkulturelles Zentrum and the ERSTE Stiftung. Cross-border school partnership in Central and Eastern Europe are sponsored through a project competition.

In 2007, the Interkulturelles Zentrum becomes the national agency for the new EU programme "Youth in Action”, which will run until the end of 2013. Together with ARGE partners, the Institute for Educational Sciences and ÖAR-Regionalberatung, IZ is responsible for the implementation of the programme in Austria. The agency is also supported by regional government offices in the Federal states.

In 2008, the course "Intercultural Competences” takes place for the 10th time. The course is held every year in cooperation with the Renner Institut. Since the launch of this training facility, approx. 200 people from different fields have participated in this course.

Together with Western Union and in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, the IZ starts the Initiative VielfalterSM. Vielfalter supports projects which promote cultural diversity, multilingualism and intercultural education in Austria. Schools, teachers, kindergartens as well as non-profit organizations, private initiatives and parents can apply for grants for their project ideas.

2009 Interkulturelles Zentrum moves from the 5th district into a new office building in the 7th district in Vienna. On an open day in October 2009, the IZ team presents the new office to the broader public. This year is also a milestone for the youthNET network: Together with its partners they officially sign the „Memorandum of Cooperation“, which gives the network a new structure. Onwards the network is managed by a „Coordination Body".

2010 As National Agency for the EU youth programme „Youth in Action“ the IZ – together with the National Agencies from Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and the coordination office of Switzerland – organizes the 2nd German-speaking Youth Forum "Europäisch gewürzt: Misch mit!" in Vienna, and is attended by more than 200 young people, youth workers and multipliers.

2011 For the first time the diploma course “Intercultural Competences (ICC)”, offered by the University of Salzburg, is taking place at Interkulturelles Zentrum in Vienna. Followed by a Master programme, which is also taking place at the IZ.

2014 On behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Youth, Interkulturelles Zentrum is entrusted to implement the new EU youth programme "Erasmus+: Jugend in Aktion" (2014 - 2020)

2015 Martina Fürpass wird neues Mitglied der Geschäftsführung des Interkulturellen Zentrums und leitet gemeinsam mit Gerhard Moßhammer die Geschicke des Vereins.

2016 Interkulturelles Zentrum moves to a new barrier-free office at Dresdner Straße 82 in the 20th district of Vienna. For the first time the IZ coordinates the Austrian Youth Award 2016.