The origins and character of the International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) need to placed within the context of developments in Europe after the Second World War.

All of these developments, each significant in its own right, created challenges for the education systems in especially Western Europe. 

The arrival of various newcomers came at a time when teachers and schools were monocultural in nature and unprepared for the diversity of cultural backgrounds, histories, religions etc associated with migrant students 

University courses on prejudice and racism, for instance, were still rare well into the 1980s. 

The IAIE was the outcome of growing dissatisfaction with the educational response to newcomers arriving in Western Europe. This response was characterized by compensatory educational programs that sought to assimilate migrants into European society. 

The prevailing model was a deficit model, defining migrants as problematic for society, needing to be ‘enlightened and ‘civilized’. 

There was also a sense of dissatisfaction with educational theory and models that were borrowed directly from the United States and those that made no mention of power, status, racism and equity issues when describing the dynamics of intercultural contact.

The IAIE newsletter, which first appeared in 1990, developed into an academic journal entitled European Journal of Intercultural Studies, The IAIE Board - consisting of 5 individuals elected by the membership – decided in 1996 to change both the title of the journal and the publisher. 

The journal dropped its European identity and became Intercultural Education to reflect the global nature of the journal and the issues it addressed. 

In addition to the journal, the IAIE has organized multiple international conferences, as well as seminars for teachers. Multiple publications and educational materials have also been developed by the IAIE, including the Big Myth

A full history of the IAIE can be found in the following article, published in the Encyclopedia for Diversity in Education (Editor: James Banks): Download the History of the IAIE