ITCILO: Italia 61, the Palazzo del Lavoro and the Campus

Training is an essential step towards development and the International Labour Organization (ILO), ever since its birth in 1919, has been further developing this dimension

In the fifties and sixties, with decolonization, the newly independent nations needed to consolidate their independence with the acquisition of new technical knowledge and skills.

This growing demand was channelled through the Governing Body of the ILO to seek a permanent facility for developing training and technical assistance. This project was approved by the ILO’s Governing Body on 7 March 1963 with the creation of the Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training.

In 1961 Italy celebrated its centenary of unity in its first capital, Turin. For the celebration a new urban area was developed, called “Italia 61”, 

This new area was composed of several buildings, the main one celebrating the unity of the country and the achievements that were obtained through Labour. This building was the Palazzo del Lavoro and in 1961 hosted a world exhibition.

In July 1964 an agreement was signed between the City of Turin and the representative of the Director General of the ILO for putting at the disposal of the Centre the premises of the Palazzo del Lavoro as well as the pavilions of the campus.

In 1964 (October 24th, the United Nations Day), the ILO’s Director General David Morse signed a convention with the Italian Government marking the institutional creation of the Centre called the “Rome Agreement”.

On 1 October 1965 it was converted into a unique training facility for the ILO: the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training, where technical and vocational training programmes were held. 

Close to the Palazzo del Lavoro, across Corso Unità d’Italia, the 19 pavilions representing the regions of Italy were converted into a campus for lodging the participants. It is where the ITCILO has been located since 1983.

almost 60 years
A history of almost 60 years…
  • On 15 October 1965 the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training started its operations. It was a unique training centre for vocational training and for the training of trainers.
  • In the 1980s the Centre left the Palazzo del Lavoro and moved to the pavilions across Corso Unità d’Italia, to a renewed campus, with a new approach focused on training and management applied to the ILO’s specific areas of interest. It is where the ITCILO has been located since 1983.
  • In the 1990s the Centre was renamed as the International Training Centre of the ILO. The Centre is the training arm of the ILO with provision of training in the area of capacity building for all ILO’s member states.
  • In its fourth decade (1995 – 2005) two new UN institutions joined ITCILO on the Campus: UNICRI and the UNSSC. The Campus became a unique training facility of the UN system.
60 years_3
A new project: the ITCILO historical archive

This project aims at creating a historical archive for the ITCILO that will gather all the significant work that has been carried out since 1964. The development of this archive will be done in close collaboration with ITCILO and with the other UN agencies that operate on the Campus.

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Highlights are presented for each decade, adding to the narrative regarding the history of the ITCILO and of the UN Campus.

  • 1st Decade 1965 – 1975: on 15 October 1965 the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training started its operations. Palazzo del Lavoro was equipped with technical labs, with machines and equipment for the delivery of vocational and technical training programmes. New training methodologies based on the notion of training of trainers were developed.
  • 2nd Decade 1975 – 1985: the Centre moved from Palazzo del Lavoro to the Campus, where it is now based. The Centre also began moving away from vocational training programmes, shifting towards a new approach focused on training and management applied to specific ILO areas of interest.
  • 3rd Decade 1985 – 1995: the Centre was renamed the International Training Centre of the ILO. This change reflected a new role for the Centre, acting as the training arm of the ILO and providing technical support in the area of capacity building.
  • 4th Decade 1995 – 2005: the Centre became the main tool for disseminating the Decent Work agenda through training activities delivered on Campus, in the regions and with distance learning programmes. Two UN Institutions, UNICRI and the UN System Staff College (UNSSC) joined ITCILO on the Campus, thus creating a unique UN facility with a global reach.
  • Directors of the Centre: 1965 to date
  • Strategic plans ITC-ILO: 1991 to date


The main features of the archive will be:  

  • The collection of digital records, i.e. records related to institutional documents such as the Board of the Centre, the ILO Governing Body, as well as agreements with other training institutions;
  • A selected register on the history of "capacity building", reflecting the evolution of training since the foundation of the Centre.
  • An organized photographic archive, including videos and interviews, on the history of the Campus.

For further information: archiviostorico@itcilo.org