The International Center was created by the then-Mayor of Indianapolis, Richard Lugar. Inspired by the international visitors that came to Indiana as a result of the 1971 International Conference on Cities, Hoosiers recognized the need for Indiana to take a larger step onto the global stage.

In 1973, The International Center answered the call, supporting international visitors, instilling an appreciation of the state’s multicultural populations and enhancing awareness of global issues.

Fifty years later, we carry on the legacy as the catalyst for a global Indiana – to inform, convene, and connect to the world around us.

  • March 6, 1973

    The International Center is created.

    The International Center is created under Robert G. Nelson, president. Then called The International Center of Indianapolis or “ICI”.

    The Center’s original location, 1050 West 42nd Street, artwork by K.P. Singh.

  • September 29, 1974

    "International Center Day" is proclaimed.

    On September 29, 1974, “International Center Day” is proclaimed to by Mayor Richard Lugar to “bring together people of all nationalities, races and cultures” in Indianapolis in conjunction with the first “International Mela”.

    September 29, 1974

  • October 17-10, 1976

    The International Center hosts the first International Festival.

    The International Center held the “International Bicentennial Festival Weekend” at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to celebrate the various nationalities in the state of Indiana in honor of the country’s bicentennial year.

    The festival would become what is now known as the International Festival and continued to be hosted by The International Center until management shifted to the Nationalities Council of Indiana in 1988.

    International Festival '78 complimentary 3 day pass

  • September 23, 1983

    New logo introduced.

    The International Center adopts a new logo to symbolize a helping hand of friendship and peace.

    September 23, 1983

  • June 7, 1985

  • August 7, 1987

    Pan American Games held in Indianapolis.

    The International Center helps to organize interpretation services for the 1987 Pan American Games, including the participation of 900 interpreters.

    August 7, 1987

  • September 23, 1990

    First Community Orientation Program for Expatriates.

    The Community Orientation Program for Expatriates (COPE) is introduced by The Center. Now known as “Cross-Cultural Training for Partners,” the program supports a family’s cultural adjustment after moving to Indiana.

    The first COPE group, made up of Lilly international spouses and families as they take a tour of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

  • September 23, 1991

    New logo introduced.

    Herron School of Art students design a new logo for the International Center of Indianapolis.

    September 23, 1991

  • September 23, 1992

    Participation in Naturalization Ceremonies begins.

    The Center begins the tradition of presenting an American flag to the eldest citizen being naturalized at each naturalization ceremony in memory of former board member, Toni Cordingley.

    The Center’s former executive director, Barbara Graham presents a flag to a newly naturalized citizen at the 1992 International Festival.

  • September 24, 1999

    Destination Services is created.

    “Destination Services,” now called “Relocation Services,” is created within The International Center to help settle and relocate international professionals and their families in Indianapolis.

    September 24, 1999

  • September 13, 2003

    30th Anniversary

    The Center celebrates its 30th anniversary by presenting the International Citizen of the Year award to The Honorable Richard G. Lugar, U.S. Senator, for his role in establishing the International Center.

  • January 2, 2007

    January 2, 2007

  • March 17, 2010

    Flag Program is established.

    In a special service, IUPUI gifts The Center with its collection of flags, marking the beginning of the present-day Flag Program.

  • 2011

    Big changes for The Center.

    The Center sees big changes: a rebrand with a new name and new logo; a memorandum of understanding with the City of Indianapolis is signed signifying The Center as a core provider of protocol services and the Festival Fund is established.

    Diane Thomas and Mayor Greg Ballard sign a memorandum of understanding between The International Center and the City of Indianapolis.


  • June 1, 2013

    New location!

    After moving offices 7 times over the course of 30 years, The International Center finds its current home at the Regions Bank Building.

  • January 3, 2017

    Martin Baier becomes CEO.

    Martin Baier is selected by The International Center’s Board of Directors as president and CEO.

    January 3, 2017

  • May 1, 2020

    The Morris Series is launched.

    The International Center expands its professional development programs and launches Indiana’s first five-month global leadership program, the James T. Morris Global Leadership Series.

    The program is named for Indiana’s own Jim Morris in honor of his decades of global leadership, especially his role as chief of staff to Mayor Lugar when The International Center was first established.

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