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Monday, 02 July 2007 13:34

Courses at IIRE

Courses at the IIRE

The IIRE's main activity remains the organization of educational courses, in which participants are nominated by our partner organizations in many countries. Participants and lecturers come from all over the world to work together on these courses, acquire knowledge, exchange ideas, and develop a framework for solidarity. Each session includes efforts to understand: the shaping influence of global capitalism; the impact of past history; interaction between humans and their natural environment; the special situation of women and oppressed peoples; the functioning of existing states and structures; and prospects and strategies for change.
Unfortunately we cannot accept individual applications; all candidates must be nominated by our partner organizations.

Our offerings:

an overview

·  Global Justice School
Next offered: November / December 2010

·  Women's Schools
Next offered: to be planned

·  Youth Schools
Next offered: August 2011

·  Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Strategy Seminars
Next offered: to be planned

Our courses clearly respond to a felt need. Our partner organizations send several students to sessions over a period of several years, building up an ongoing working relationship with the IIRE that goes beyond what individual students learn. Each year more organizations apply to send participants than we are able to accomodate. Those who come leave extraordinarily enthusiastic comments behind. Just to cite a few: One South African participant said that our course was "invaluable". A Congolese participant said, "I loved the militant, internationalist warmth both among the students and between the students and staff." In a Mexican participant's words, "Why not say it: it is encouraging. It is important to reconfirm that you are working with serious and human people around the world."

Students at the IIRE not only study and discuss together, they cook, eat, clean and relax together, throughout their courses. To live for weeks or months in a culturally diverse group gives flesh and blood to the ideas of internationalism and solidarity. It helps to "feel the world", especially for those who have rarely - in some cases never - been outside their own countries. It often leads to friendships and organizational links that last long after the courses have ended.

No easy answers

From the beginning, every course that the IIRE has held has ended with collective, written and oral evaluations by staff, lecturers and participants. The courses have changed continually to meet participants' needs and demands. We have never given the same course twice in exactly the same way.

We do not pretend to offer ready-made answers to the questions that participants are confronted with. What we do is give them new means for analysing their situation and acting effectively, through informed, creative, critical thinking. Enhancing (self-)critical capacities and openness to new ideas is one of our main goals. Encouraging dialogue across boundaries of geography, nationality, gender and political tradition - and language (courses are usually bilingual English-French or English-Spanish, with simultaneous translation) - is another. Direct interaction among activists from different countries and continents, with different backgrounds, experiences and skills, is essential to the learning that takes place here. Great emphasis is put upon formal and informal exchanges, sharing of experiences and viewpoints.

Over the years our course formats have made more room for reading and collective discussion. Participants take reading materials and audio cassettes with them when they return home and often circulate these materials widely (particularly in countries where such material is rarely available and copying is beyond most people's financial means). This ensures that the learning experience continues well after specific courses end. Printed materials complement lectures and discussions in more than one way: they provide historical and theoretical background; include documents from major thinkers and figures of the past; present contending analyses; and introduce further readings to participants who wish to go deeper.

Forming movement leaders

Since our first session in 1982, hundreds of participants have come and gone from over 40 countries in every continent except Antarctica, in groups of between 15 and 50. Slightly more than half the participants have come from the Third World; most of the rest from Western Europe, North America and Japan. Smaller numbers have come from Eastern European countries.

Participants' social origins are as varied as their geographical ones. The great majority of them come from popular milieus, i.e. families of primary school teachers, workers, employees, small traders, etc.; the others, mostly from intellectual and professional milieus. Most have finished secondary school. Even those who have no university degrees often have an impressive range of knowledge gained from formal or informal educational programmes in their organizations.

Except for the women's seminars, the rate of female participation in our courses and seminars has usually varied between 20 and 30 percent. We continue actively promoting the participation of women, with some success. The age range of the participants is from the late teens to the late forties, with the median age around 30. A large minority of participants are (paid or unpaid) full-time organizers for trade unions, associations or political parties, while the others combine substantial organizing efforts with other full-time or part-time employment.


Sunday, 01 July 2007 22:17


The Institut International de Recherches et de Formation (IIRF) or in English International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE), is a Belgian Non Profit International Association. It was founded by Ernest Mandel and has been recognized as an International Scientific and Non Profit Association by Royal decree on 11 June 1981.

The IIRF is being registered in Brussels, Belgian at the Kruispuntbank nr. 421632274.
In Amsterdam the IIRF/IIRE is registered at the Chamber of Commerce Amsterdam nr. 34242044, as congress and study centre, as well as organiser of education sources, seminars, conferences and research. The VAT number of the IIRF is:
NL 8153.35.210.B01.

The IIRF has members and a board.
The present board members are:

Joost Kircz, Chairman
Francois Vercammen, Secretary
Penelope Duggan, member

Friday, 22 June 2007 10:45


The results of the IIRE's work are made available to a larger public in large part through our publication series, the Notebooks for Study and Research. Since 1986 we have published 36 issues of the Notebooks in English. For many years we had a parallel series in French, the Cahiers d'étude et de recherche (currently under review). The Notebooks focus on themes of contemporary debate or historical or theoretical importance, sometimes based on lectures given in sessions in our Institute. Since 1998 they have been published as a book series in collaboration with Pluto Press in London. Different issues of the Notebooks have also appeared in languages besides English and French, including German, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish Danish and Russian.


A compilation of notebook titles and descriptions. We are in the proces of digitalizing the notebooks to further availability of the Institutes research.