CIRIEC originally called “International Centre of Research and Information on the Collective Economy” was founded in 1947 by Professor Edgard MILHAUD, a French economist teaching at the University of Geneva.

In 1908 Edgard Milhaud had founded the journal then known as the “Annals of Collective Economy” and created CIRIEC to ensure its continuity. With the active assistance of Swiss friends, Milhaud kept CIRIEC going in Geneva until 1957.

The headquarters of the association were then transferred to Liège (Belgium) in 1957. Professor Paul LAMBERT became Director of CIRIEC and later its President. Following the death of Paul Lambert in 1977, Professor Guy QUADEN became Director of CIRIEC until 1990. Since then, Bernard Thiry is the General Director.

CIRIEC commemorated its 50th anniversary through an international colloquium organized on 26 September 1997 on the theme: “The public, social and cooperative economy and the general interest – Which roles in the XXIst century?” .
On that occasion a scientific book as well as a historical brochure “50 years in the life of CIRIEC” retracing the main events of CIRIEC have been published (This last brochure is also available in German).

On the occasion of its 75th anniversary, celebrated at the 33rd Congress in Valencia (June 2022), CIRIEC International has published two books:
– CIRIEC 1947-2022 : 75 years of reflection and action in favour of general interest and economic democracy / Ludo BETTENS (IHOES – Institut d’histoire ouvrière, économique et sociale)
– The Economy of the Collective Interest: 75 years of scientific researchBernard THIRY,  Philippe BANCE (eds)

To celebrate the 50 years of presence of CIRIEC in Belgium, the Belgian Section of CIRIEC organized in Liège on November 29, 2007 an international colloquium on the theme The public economy and the social and cooperative economy: 50 years later – What future perspectives? .
small volume describes among others the first ten years of CIRIEC (1947-1957).