INTO was formally established on 3 December 2007 at the 12th International Conference of National Trusts held in New Delhi.
On the occasion, Fiona Reynolds, then Director-General of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:
“The mood and atmosphere of the conference was quite different from the previous two I’ve attended, with many of the smaller Trusts playing a more active role; and a sense of urgency and passion even more to the forefront than usual.
The Prime Minister in particular made a thoughtful and well received speech – his first on heritage issues – in which he spoke of the need to integrate the objectives of heritage protection with the urgent development needs of the people of India.
The launch of INTO was a great success, with delegates lining up to sign the INTO Charter and showing huge enthusiasm for an established means of sharing good practice, learning from the experience of other Trusts and promoting our collective concerns more effectively.
INTACH’s intellectual and expert practical base ensures that the voice of heritage is becoming stronger in India and it deserves huge credit for its work, including ensuring the continuation and in some cases revival of the conservation skills on which India’s heritage depends.
The conference closed with a powerful sense that we cannot operate in isolation from each other and that we have both a duty and a responsibility to look beyond our boundaries, not just (as we already are) within the UK but in the broader context of a rapidly changing and challenged world.”
The Conference was opened by the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, who made a thoughtful and well received speech – his first on heritage issues – in which he spoke of the need to integrate the objectives of heritage protection with the urgent development needs of the people of India.
Since its foundation in 2007, INTO has developed its role as an umbrella body for the global family of trusts that come together to share experience and resources; to grow the capacity of existing trusts and help develop new ones in countries where they do not currently exist; and to be a global voice for matters of common concern.
David Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer at the US National Trust for Historic Preservation said:
“The 2007 ICNT was amazing on many fronts. INTACH structured an exciting array of events and tours, especially geared for those who had never visited the country. As a result, I was able to visit incredible cultural sites, ranging from the Taj Mahal to Gandhi’s grave, and to take my first (and to date only) ride on an elephant!
Professionally, the 2007 ICNT brought two years of effort on the structure and launch of INTO to a close, as the work of the steering committee which had been constituted at the Washington 2005 ICNT led to the establishment of the world’s first international organization of National Trusts. It was exhilarating to see representatives from National Trusts all around the globe come together with such enthusiasm for this joint endeavor. Personally, having the opportunity to share the dais with the Prime Minister was a once-in-a-lifetime moment I’ll never forget.
Since that founding 10 years ago, INTO has grown and expanded its wings, tackling tough challenges and growing an inclusive membership and leadership group. The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S. has benefited greatly by both supporting the work of National Trusts worldwide and receiving guidance and wisdom from the work of others. Congratulations, INTO, on a strong first decade. Here’s to many more in the future.”
There is more about INTO’s history in our ‘About INTO‘ pages.