Intercultural thinking and acting, researching and developing across boundaries

The International Academy Berlin for Innovative Pedagogy, Psychology and Economics gGmbH (INA) is a non-profit organization. INA implements projects, including development and research projects, as well as programs of further vocational and educational training. INA works on national as well as international levels with the emphasis on establishing an interdisciplinary discourse between pedagogy, psychology and economics.

In 1996, the International Academy Berlin for Innovative Pedagogy, Psychology and Economics (INA) was established at the Free University of Berlin as a non-profit organization by Prof. Emeritus Dr. Jürgen Zimmer and other associates. Having worked successfully in their respective fields for many years, organizations, groups, and individuals joined forces to launch INA, because they had increasingly become aware of the need to cross and go beyond their disciplinary boundaries in their research projects as well as in their teaching activities. In all projects and institutions of INA, interdisciplinary questions and cooperation are a major concern in research, theory building, practical implementation, and education.

Institutes and their Directors

  • Berlin Kita Institute for Quality Development in Kindergarten (BeKi), Dr. Christa Preissing
  • Office for  Psychosocial Issues (OPSI), Prof. Dr. David Becker
  • Institute for Global Urban Studies (GLOBUS), Prof. Dr. Kosta Mathéy
  • Institute for Community Education (ICE), Angelika Krüger
  • Institute for Situational Approach, Research and Projects (ISTA), Petra Wagner
  • Institute Heritage Studies (IHS), Prof. Dr. Marie-Theres Albert
  • Institute for Leadership & Human Resources Management (IPM), Dr. Sylke Piéch
  • Institute for Innovation Transfer and Project Management (IfI), Dr. Yihong Hu
  • Institute for International Urban Research, (InUrban), Matthias Kracht
  • Institute for Mediative Communication and Diversity-Comptence (IMK), Dr. Doris Klappenbach
  • Institute for Organization and Management (IOM), Dr. Thomas Koditek
  • Institute for Qualitative Research (IQF), Dr. Katja Mruck
  • Institute for Social Pedagogy (IfS), Dr. Britta Marschke
  • Paulo Freire Institute (PFI), Dr. Ilse Schimpf-Herken


Representation and Management Structure:

  • The President: Dr. Christa Preissing
  • The Vice-Presidents: Dr. Doris Klappenbach, Katrin Macha, Matthias Kracht
  • The Managing Director: Monika Lentz


Aims and philosophy

Establishing this network in the form of an academy, creates better conditions for the development and realization of the involved institutions projects, as well as a common discussion forum. The work of the International Academy is characterized by the crossing of disciplinary and geographic boundaries. Merging into the International Academy should create better organizational premises for the development of new initiatives.

It is no coincidence, that the Academy is not structured by disciplines nor project emphases, but rather through a paradigmatic access to reality. This way it becomes visible that the unequal siblings – education of the reality, economics from the bottom up and social psychoanalysis – are related to each other: They derive from life’s reality, they do not adapt people to pedagogic or therapeutic institutions, but, quite the contrary, go up to the people.

In this respect, the following quote of social critic Ivan Illich (1926-2002) applies to all facets of the Academy: A good portion of learning does not result from instruction, but from unhindered participation in a relevant environment.

Social psychoanalysis thereby permeates the functioning of the economy in its symbolic conveyances. At the same time, the general framework of a pedagogy aiming to encompass and advance real life conditions and taking into account financial basis, is characterized.

Think globally, act locally. The Academy puts its trust in our world’s cultural diversity and acts interculturally. It wants to accomplish exemplary contributions, so that one can live without protective barriers and develop forms of cooperation, which can be defined neither through known evolutionary ideologies, nor through plundering.


Seven principles

  1. Internationalism and interculturalism: International cooperation is the basis of INA activities. INA promotes cultural diversity, human rights and international dialogue.
  2. Practice-relevant science: The interdisciplinary approach makes more practice-relevant theory development possible and improves the theoretical attendance of practical projects through reflection and evaluation.
  3. Situational approach: The starting points of the work of INA are the everyday situations and problems in the life world of everybody affected by a project. INA helps children as well as adults to become active subjects in their environments and in social processes.
  4. Participation in the public sphere: INA does not want to constitute a secluded island, isolated from the public; INA fosters the dialogue and creates locations of participation in its work
  5. Decentralization and partnership: The Academy creates decentralized structures in its work. The partners are not recipients; the cooperation with them is set up in a balanced communication.
  6. Entrepreneurship: The Academy supports entrepreneurship. That involves the acquisition of the ability to develop good marketable ideas and to test them on the market.
  7. The Academy is an enterprise: Educational and research processes should not exclude, or obstruct entrepreneurial experience and activities. Taking on tasks of public utility is a binding requirement. However, each Academy member creates his or her own workplace; each institution provides its own financing.