GIVE is an organisation (Voluntary association under Austrian law, "GIVE Forschungsgesellschaft") that has been built around the feeling of the advent of Global Villages and is designed to help them find the best solutions for their internal and external organisation.
We see telecommunication technology as a powerful means to enhance the ability of communities around the globe to share and build the local knowledge base for the improvement of whatever they choose as their values and goals in local development.
In a time when fewer and fewer productive industries supply the global markets with the full range of industrial basic goods, we have to understand that it is not feasible any more to try to export values, lifestyles, commodities and ideologies to survive. Rather than that one builds their own microcosm by combining the best and suitable buildings blocks available in the shared knowledge and experiences of humanity. Networking of such places will create wealth and growth superior to what the industrial age has delivered.
In 1993, with much personal effort and the support of a consortium of telecommunication companies and the PTT, we arranged our first congress ("Global Village 93") at the Technical University of Vienna with the basic goal to introduce our ideas and create a forum for architects, planners, technicians, sociologists and politicians to discuss the new possibilities of telecommunication for community development. This initiative was succesful, it was recognized by governmental planning institutions and led to various follow-up activities. The results were published in the book "Living and Working in the Global Village" (partly German, partly English, Vienna 1994)
In 1995, GIVE organized a congress together with the municipality of Vienna in the Viennese City Hall, called "Global Village 95". This congress brought closer together the views on urban and rural development. The manifold aspects on synergy and cooperation between city and village, the internal and external networking potential of cities as hubs of knowledge, economical and technological power were at the center of attention. Cities who are supporting the global villages will probably be the winners of the 21st century economy battle by expanding their economic reach in a sustainable way. Vienna wants to be at the leading edge of this development. "Global Village" was so succesfull that it was repeated six more times and attracted 35.000 visitors to the accompagnying exhibition in its best year!
In 1998, GIVE was the initiator of an internationally perceived cultural Austrian EU presidency event called "Cultural Heritage in the Global Village" (CULTH). We began to shift our focus to the necessity of providing world-class education and cultural participation in even the remotest villages. These features became even more important than arcitectural innovations, while we were still maintaining relations with architects and planners. But "spiritual village renewal" became the top issue on our priority list.
In 2002, GIVE joined forces with ECOVAST the European Council of Villages and small towns, which led to fruitful cooperation. One of the issues was to reactivate dormant structures within regions (small towns and monasteries) which in former times were active cultural centers. The idea is to have these places support the intellectual renaiscance of rural areas by becoming specialised educational hubs for the needs of the villages.
In 2003, at the Blog Talk Conference in Vienna, a meeting between Franz Nahrada and Andrius Kulikauskas took place which led to the fact that GIVE joined forces with the Minciu Sodas network
In 2004, GIVE co-sponsored the 3rd international Oekonux Conference in Vienna, actively opening up to the emerging patterns of Open Source and Open Culture as backbones of village cooperation.
In 2005, GIVE joined forces with Frithjof Bergmann and the New Work movement, explicitely engaging in the renaiscance of self-providing supported by efficient technologies to revolutionize village economics.
These are some of the "layers" that we combine in our work and we seek for opportunities to apply these combination in local pilot cases all around the world.
In 2004, GIVE opened its first village office in Kirchbach/Styria, a village in which at least some actors are intentionally seeking to migrate their village towards a "global village". They revitalised an old courthouse, build in 1854, an made it a center for culture and business. Since this was an old administration building, it has a generous outline allowing many public activities. The multifunctional education center allready hosted two remarkable Videoconference events, "Monday academy", the ring lecture of the University of Graz, and "Days of Utopia", a visionary event created in the educational center in St.Arbogast near to lake Constance.
The plan is to embed Kirchbach in the regional development strategy of "Volcano Country", an alliance of 73 communities to bootstrap regional development in South-Eastern Styria. GIVE will take part in this exciting process of turining visions into realities. To support that, in August 2005 GIVE has called for a "ResearchNetworkGlobalVillages" and held a successful founding meeting with the participation of several academic and research institutions in Kirchbach.