The ICC was an initiative of the first Polish government after the fall of Communism. Its creation was unveiled by prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki at the Paris Summit of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in November 1990, as the new architecture of Europe was taking shape. Its activity was inaugurated in May 1991 during the CSCE Symposium on cultural heritage held in Krakow. It was the first new-generation public institution of culture to be created in Poland after the watershed year 1989. From the outset it has been based in the historic medieval townhouse The Ravens House in the heart of the Old Town.
The ICC pursues its mission of public diplomacy by facilitating international cultural dialogue, taking Central Europe as the point of departure for its action and thought on heritage.
The International Cultural Centre is active in many fields, combining differing points of view and leveraging the achievements of many disciplines in order to pass on its knowledge on cultural heritage in the universal dimension as broadly and as cohesively as possible.