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The KIP International School

The School is comprised of a network of experiences, organizations, specialized centres and universities of interested countries, who intend to work together to construct new knowledge and develop new tools for planning and managing development processes. It is based on existing structures that are involved in development practice, in research for innovation and in building capacities of development actors.

The School provides support to all actors who are working to achieve the goals and values that the international community agreed on through the principal United Nations summits of the past twenty years (Millennium Platform), recognizing the serious difficulties they encounter. While on one hand, the platform indicates a path towards an equitable, participatory, and environmentally sustainable development, on the other, the reality everywhere continues to be characterized by excessive competition leading to exclusion, poverty, social tensions, pollution, irrational use of natural resources and other dangerous imbalances.

Even those governments and actors most committed to implementing the Millennium Platform find that the ideas and models of action available to them are inadequate, resulting from the very cultural patterns that the Platform wishes to overcome. For these reasons, the International School aims to help identify new tools for understanding the complex and contradictory dynamics of development and new ways to plan and manage it.

The idea of creating a School, involving the best experiences being taken forward by public administrations, institutions, universities, research centres and social actors in different countries, was first put forward in a meeting between Edgar Morin and a group of experts who inspired the human development cooperation programmes that started with the United Nations PRODERE Programme in 1989.

The strategic value of a territorial approach

The School promotes a territorial approach to development, based on the active role of local communities, on enhancing local natural, human and historical resources, on integrating different sectoral contributions and on the participation, without exception, of all social actors. It is an approach rooted in specific local cultures and realities, but aimed at building a wide network of exchanges for a local, national and international development centred on meeting human needs and peaceful cooperation. The territorial approach not only corrects the fragmentation and dispersion of resources typical of the traditional sector-specific approach, but enhances and harmonizes the qualitative contribution of experiences addressing specific issues.

The structure of the School

The School has a General Assembly, composed of representatives of national, regional and local governments, international organizations and the public, private and associative structures that support it.

It is guided by its Scientific Committee, chaired by Edgar Morin. The Scientific Committee was created in 2004 by UNESCO in collaboration with UNDP, UNIFEM and UNOPS. Since 2010, it is also linked with ILO, UNEP and WHO. The Committee and the School in general draws on an international network of research and training institutes, benefiting from the advice of experts and personalities from the worlds of science, culture and cooperation. The operational structure of the School has a Presidency, a General Secretariat, Joint Working Groups with each of the partner organizations and a Technical Committee made up of the coordinators of the projects and activities implemented by the School in collaboration with the respective partner organizations.

The School, established in 2011 following a period of presentations and consultations that included: the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto on September 9, 2009; France’s National Assembly in Paris, during a conference given by Edgar Morin on 14 October 2009; the Vice-President and a group of Members of the European Parliament in Brussels on 4 May 2010; the Cairo Forum on territorial knowledge on 4 June 2010; during an international conference on decentralized cooperation in Dakar on 4 and 5 December 2010; during the international meeting on decentralized cooperation and European integration in Tirana on 13 and 14 January 2011; at the plenary meeting of the Poverty Group of the OECD DAC in Paris on 17 and 18 March 2011.

Working tools

Several Programmes, implemented in collaboration with the United Nations, are part of the School. Given their long experience, these programmes constitute its essential working tools.

The ILS LEDA programme, set up in 1998 with the collaboration of ILO, UNDP and UNOPS, provides technical assistance related to local economic development. In particular, it supports the creation, functioning and networking of Local Economic Development Agencies (LEDAs). Local Economic Development Agencies
LEDAs are territorial services, managed by associations of local public, private and non-profit actors, whose mission is to support businesses, enhancing local resources and capacities and integrating vulnerable groups into economic activity. More than 60 LEDAs are operating in different countries, supported by ILSLEDA ( ).

The IDEASS programme, set up in 2001 with the collaboration of ILO, UNDP, UNIFEM and UNOPS, identifies and disseminates innovations that can contribute to high quality territorial development. It helps establish partnerships between the authors of innovations and interested interlocutors in different countries. To learn about the innovations promoted by IDEASS and its current activities, please visit the website This site, with visitors from over 140 countries, is an important instrument of the International School’s permanent cultural campaign.

The SIP service, set up in 1991 with the collaboration of UNDP and UNOPS, promotes and supports decentralized cooperation partnerships between regional and local communities in Europe and interested countries. More than 400 such international partnerships have been established, mobilizing thousands of public and private actors.

The UNIVERSITAS programme, launched in 2001 with the collaboration of ILO, UNDP and UNOPS, supports research and training for human development. It organizes intensive international courses for development actors, in collaboration with universities of different countries and interested public administrations. It promotes research for the systematization of innovative practice and publishes such work in its electronic journal Universitas Forum. UNIVERSITAS publishes the electronic journal Universitas Forum ( and administers an electronic library of texts on human development:

The General Secretariat of the School is at the
FAO, Building E, Rooms 102/103
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 1, 00153 Rome
tel. +39 06 57050212 ; +39 06 57050228; +39 06 57050207.



KIP International School

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