Until this day, ICPE remains the sole intergovernmental organization headquartered in Slovenia. 40 years ago, on 24 April 1974, ICPE was founded as the International Center for Public Enterprises in Developing Countries by the Government of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, following the initiative of the United Nations (UN) and with strong support of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and personal commitment of Academician Mr. Anton Vratuša , PhD, the then Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council of Yugoslavia.
It was a time of enthusiasm, emerging new states in the wake of decolonization and an orientation towards the “New International Economic Order”, which would strive to reach fair and economically balanced relations between the “developed” and the “developing” worlds. Strong and efficient public enterprises proved to be one of the key pillars of good governance and building of the economies in the relatively fragile and weak countries of the global “South”. ICPE grew on these ideas. Already in 1976, only two years after it was registered as a Yugoslav organization, following the expressed interest of many NAM members, ICPE was transformed officially to an intergovernmental organization of its member states. 30 states and 9 observers were present at the founding conference in March 1976. By the 1980, ICPE had initiated seven successful programs, research, seminars and trainings in the field of public enterprises, some of which were carried out comparatively in several member states and were financially supported by the UN agencies.
The rest is history , as they say. And it is the rich history of ICPE’s commitment to international development, economic relations in an international arena, and bridging the gap between the West and the rest, which put ICPE on the world map. Needless to say, ICPE had undergone many changes during the 40 years of its existence, through the turbulent times of altered social and economic conditions, which took place in this and other parts of the world, where ICPE’s members were. For the last two decades, following the demise of Yugoslavia and economic processes, such as privatization, and transfer to market economies, ICPE was at the brink of existence, even. Nevertheless, with the commitment of the host country, the Republic of Slovenia, ceaseless support by some of the members, particularly the Government of India, ICPE managed to find its way well into the 21st Century.
It is high time, therefore, to reconsider ICPE’s role and recognize its potentials. Today, ICPE rebuilds the once so close ties with other international organizations, the UN agencies, most notably the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) , as well as the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). In 2013, ICPE restarted the International Postgraduate MBA Programme in partnership with the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana, which previously already provided top-notch education to 650 students and high-level representatives of approximately 45 countries. Today, ICPE is getting stronger in the fields of energy efficiency and economic diplomacy and internationalization of national economies. Today, ICPE provides a growing platform for diplomatic and economic relations between Africa and Europe, and thus fills an important gap in this part of the world.
We see ICPE as a hub, which brings together the diversity of knowledge from many paths of the world and is at the same time an outward open network, which can provide a meaningful support to the internationalization of national economies.
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