ICU is an International Non-Governmental Organization recognized by the European Commission and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs implementing development co-operation projects in developing countries and fostering information and education on international solidarity issues.

ICU was established in 1966 by some Italian university professors, whose aim was to support the growth of the Culture and Science put at the service of mankind. In order to reach this objective, ICU promotes and carries out initiatives designed to:

  • Support Human and Social growth in developing countries through development co-operation projects with special emphasis to the training of local human resources.
  • Disseminate the idea of a development co-operation culture as promotion of the human dignity.

Since its foundation, ICU has completed about 500 development co-operation projects in 40 countries in Latin America, Africa, Mediterranean Basin and Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific, for a total budget of 160 million euro.

The main fields are:

university cooperation
education and vocational training
sanitation and healthcare
rural development
agriculture and irrigation
renewable energies
women’s promotion
social development

ICU is a partner of ECHO – European Community Humanitarian Office – in the management of emergency projects and is recognized by USAID. It is also a member of the Management Board of READI (Red Euro-Arabe de ONG para el Desarrollo y la Integración) and Link2007.

ICU cooperates with and is subsidized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the European Union and International Organizations. It is also supported by various Italian local authorities and by private citizens.

President: Federico Eichberg
Vice President: Alberto Ribera
Vice President: Daniele Giunta
Secretary general: Andrea Vigevani
Director: Daniele Bonetti


To realize development co-operation projects, based on flexible approaches and long-term visions, aloof from purely charitable attitudes.

To spread a culture of solidarity in which we believe, that makes the man key player of his development, the latter considered not only as an economic goal,but also in itssocial consequences.

To spread an international co-operation attitude in Universities, promoting relations between institutions of higher education and research centers at the service of peace and development.

To support the development of academic institutions in developing countries, in the belief that the research method of university, able to be creative and rigorous at the same time, can be put at the service of man to find possible solutions to under development problems.

To promote work as key factor of development, through training, education and research activities at all levels(basic, professional and academic).

To involve young people in international cooperation, promoting activities of youth exchanges and international voluntary service.

Mission & Vision

The focus on dignity of human being, as an individual willing to learn and responsible for his own future and that of his community is a fundamental cornerstone supporting our activities.  This is the successful approach that has led to ICU’s constitution and that continue to inspire our activities.

Indeed, ICU’s mission is to promote self-development in the countries with limited resources where it works. This is the reason why its activities always include a strong component of training and education of population and local institutions. Therefore, capacity building, seen as an ongoing process to hand on technology, methodology and know-how, is a leading theme of ICU’s strategy in its relationship with local partners. Through its projects, aimed at improving the local operational capabilities and skills, ICU provides technical assistance to local peoples.

According to these inspiring ideas, our initiatives are based on strong relationships with local partners (institutions and civil society representatives) established since many years of partnership. This ‘modus operandi’ ensures a proper identification of local needs, an efficient and suitable implementation of projects and the sustainability of carried out activities, thanks to a stable presence of local partners promoting long-term sustainability of the obtained results.

Our supporters

ICU works with many national and international, institutional and civil society actors to carry out its activities in the countries of intervention.

Here are some of our supporters.



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* Donations made in favor of ICU are tax deductible