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The Intercultural Management Institute has more than 30 years of experience in the field of intercultural management and cross-cultural communication. Before 1990, IMI was called the Business Council for International Understanding.

In 1957, at a time of heightened global tension, American University established its School of International Service (SIS). This innovative institution differed from contemporaneous schools of international relations in being founded not on the study of the great power conflicts of the era, but on the concept of service to the wider world.

A brief two years later, the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) approached AU with a proposition that reflected this commitment to service. Under a mandate from the Eisenhower administration, this group of U.S. CEOs had created a program to prepare international executives to meet the personal and professional challenges they would confront upon encountering cultural differences. BCIU invited AU to organize, direct, and maintain this program. Under the aegis of AU, BCIU remained the nation's cross-cultural training leader for more than 35 years because of its reputation for unmatched quality in program content and delivery, the most innovative training techniques, and an outstanding rate of success among its graduates.

Building upon the prestigious foundations of the BCIU Institute, IMI continues its predecessor's esteemed work in intercultural communication, pre-departure orientation, repatriation training, and area briefing. Its presence within the university is a clear demonstration of a commitment to intercultural understanding and international service that extends back more than forty years.


IMI's predecessor, The Business Council for International Understanding Institute (BCIU), was founded.

The Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) was founded.

The BCIU institute becomes the Intercultural Management Institute under the direction of Dr. Gary Weaver. 

IMQ is first published by the International Communication Student Forum, with input from SIS and Kogod School of Business. IMI also holds its First Annual Conference on Intercultural Relations. The conference is now in its 11th year.

The IMI Associate Membership program launches. Today IMI has Associate Members from around the world.

IMI hosts a summer symposium with industry expert Geert Hofstede. We also launch the IMI Education and Development Scholarship Fund to provide support to students interested in attending IMI programs but who are financially unable to do so.

IMI launches its Virtual Cross-Cultural Exchange program in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State. This program is in its third year.

IMI launches its annual conference blog.

IMI celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Annual Conference on Intercultural Relations and 10 years of publishing IMQ.