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History of IZ

The inaugural meeting of Interkulturelles Zentrum takes place on March 20, 1987. The project receives financial support from private sector companies. The Federal Ministry for the Environ-ment, Youth and Family also provides initial funding. The founding members 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 IZ includes the development of teaching material on intercultural learning in schools and various further education seminars for pedagogues.

In 1989, Interkulturelles Zentrum is appointed by the Ministry of Education to develop international school children’s correspondence. The project “International School Partnerships” is launched a year later and Interkulturelles Zentrum begins to provide mediation and advice for in-ternational 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 has been obtained.

In 1994, Interkulturelles Zentrum is appointed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Youth and Family as the Austrian National Agency for the EU programme “Youth in Action” for the first time.

In 1996, Interkulturelles Zentrum is assigned with the coordination of the EU pilot project “Euro-pean Voluntary Service”.

In 2000, the European Voluntary Service is finally integrated in the youth programme. In 2000, Interkulturelles Zentrum is awarded the “World Aware Award for Global Education” by the European Council.

In 2001, Interkulturelles Zentrum launches the network youthNET focussing on South-eastern Eu-rope. The objective is to expand collaboration between the European Union and South-eastern Eu-ropean countries particularly in the field of youth. At the same time, this exchange aims to devel-op 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, Inter-kulturelles Zentrum provides guidance to four communes for the development of an integration concept.

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

In 2005, Interkulturelles Zentrum is awarded 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 is jointly developed by Interkulturelles Zentrum and ERSTE Stiftung. Cross-border school partner-ships in Central and Eastern Europe are sponsored through a project competition.

In 2007, Interkulturelles Zentrum becomes the National Agency for the new EU programme “Youth in Action”, which runs 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, ap-prox. 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, IZ starts the Initiative VielfalterSM. Vielfalter supports projects which promote cul-tural diversity, multilingualism and intercultural education in Austria. Schools, teachers, kinder-gartens as well as non-profit organisations, private initiatives and parents can apply for grants for their project ideas.

In 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 part-ners, they officially sign the “Memorandum of Cooperation”, which gives the network a new structure. From then on, the network is managed by a “Coordination Body”.

In 2010, IZ, as National Agency for the EU youth programme “Youth in Action”, organises the 2nd German-speaking Youth Forum “Europäisch gewürzt: Misch mit!” in Vienna together with the National Agencies of Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and the coordination office of Switzerland. The Forum is attended by over 200 young people, youth workers and multipliers.

In 2011, the diploma course “Intercultural Competences (ICC)” offered by the University of Salz-burg, is held at Interkulturelles Zentrum in Vienna for the first time, followed by a master’s pro-gramme which is also takes place at IZ.

In 2014, Interkulturelles Zentrum is entrusted to implement the new EU youth programme “Eras-mus+: Jugend in Aktion” (2014 - 2020) on behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Youth.

In 2015, Martina Fürpass becomes managing director and leads IZ together with Gerhard Moßhammer.

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

In 2017, celebrating its 30th anniversary, IZ starts a one-year identity process in the course of which the association’s mission statement as well as its name and external image are thoroughly revised.

In 2018, the EU initiative “European Solidarity Corps” is signed off by the European Parliament in September and launched as a funding programme in itself. It is managed and coordinated by IZ as the National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth in Action and the European Solidarity Corps.