Brief History

interdiac was founded in December 2008 as a non-profit educational organisation after consultation about training and development needs with many partners across the region. The Academy has two founding organisations and an university programme supporter:

Silesian Diaconia, which took the lead in researching the needs analysis and which has invested in the infrastructure and development of the Academy.
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Helsinki Deaconess Institute, which is a social service provider in Finland and has a long history of training and international work, is supporting the development of the Academy. Helsinki Deaconess Institute is one of the co-owners of the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak), which is also supporting the programme development of the Academy.
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Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) offers high quality, innovative degree programmes of education and training in diaconia, nursing, sign language interpretation, community interpreting, social services and youth work. Diak emphasises a close relationship to practice and working life. It has four campuses located in different regions of Finland.
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interdiac already has 15 partner organisations across the region with a base in Český Těšín - a border town at the corner of the triangle of 3 countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Poland).

Vision & Goals

interdiac vision is to promote learning, networking, and research & development for diaconia & social action in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in a growing number of Central Asian countries.

interdiac is learning community for Christian social action and living conviviality. We are called to model our learning community on the vision and learning model we are developing. We view this through the Biblical witness of the prophet Micah, who asserts that what God requires is that we should act justly, with compassion and that we should walk humbly with God in our life. That means walking humbly in compassionate action and in the struggle for justice.

interdiac aims to develop programmes which meet the needs of the region for the development of knowledge and skills for diaconia and social action. The vision of learning which informs the work of interdiac starts with the learners’ own motivation and is grounded in diaconal values. The focus on training in interdiac emphasises:

  • Exploring & deepening our many connections, to self, God, and the ‘other’ and seeking conviviality, rooted in our belonging to each other and to God.
  • The safeguarding and promotion of the human dignity of each person and considers people as the subject (not the object) of social, diaconal or community development work.
  • Skills and strategies to support the participation and empowerment of excluded and marginalised people.
  • The need to influence social change, work for a society in diversity and fight against social exclusion.

interdiac learning programmes are continuously being developed in collaboration with our partner organisations and are offered at seminars and workshops in the contexts where they are engaged across the region. In this way interdiac build networks and support, to ensure that the learning is relevant.

The learning programmes are normally run jointly with university partners.

interdiac emphasises participatory approaches to learning.

interdiac develops innovative approaches to learning and training. It is open to those who continue to work in their own places whilst studying as well as those who study full time at interdiac.

interdiac conducts the research to improve understanding and practice on the Youth on the Margins, People on the Move and on Ecclesiology and the theological understanding of diaconia.

interdiac uses local contexts as flexible learning environments. Therefore learning is close to ‘real working life' situations and interdiac will contribute to local and regional development.

interdiac invites all those who share its aims and values to join in developing the programme and structure of the Academy.

Special Features

  • Seeking conviviality: the art and practice of living together by respecting the diversity as the enriching momentum and by the sharing of the variety of partners’ resources in working towards the vision of interdiac.
  • Creating learning and living communities with all those involved.
  • Building up and strengthening partnerships for training and the development of diaconal activities.
  • Bringing people who are eager to make a change together to create new activities.
  • Applying a participatory approach in all activities and working processes.
  • Using blended learning composed of different methods and platforms that facilitate learning processes.
  • Integrating theory & practice with theological reflection and spirituality, which are the motivation for diaconal action.
  • Reflecting on the values and ethical basis of the practice of diaconia.
  • Creating new diaconal learning programmes and diaconal concepts that are context-relevant and value based.
  • Organising an on-going Research Forum to support knowledge development in the region.

interdiac considers knowledge, skills, competences and experience gained as gifts received which it is important to share.

Therefore interdiac and its partner organisations in the region are open to be a part of programmes, projects & initiatives that promote two-way learning for life in justice, dignity and conviviality.


International Academy for Diaconia and Social Action
Dukelská 264/5
737 01 Český Těšín - Czech Republic

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