The idea of an international anti-corruption academy arose out of INTERPOL’s International Group of Experts on Corruption, which at the time included Martin Kreutner, IACA’s current Dean, Michael Hershman, Chairperson of IACA’s International Senior Advisory Board, and the late Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) at the time. The adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2005 and its subsequent implementation in many countries also played an influential role.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (the guardian of the UNCAC), INTERPOL, OLAF, and the Republic of Austria were the driving forces behind the establishment of what would become the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA). The official launch of the Academy came about in 2010. On 2 and 3 September, the Inaugural Conference, “From Vision to Reality”, took place in Vienna, Austria, having witnessed the participation of over 1,000 delegates from UN Member States, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector, civil society, and academia. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the guest of honour. The conference culminated in the signing of the Agreement for the Establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Academy as an International Organization by 35 UN Member States and one international organization.

By 31 December 2010, the last day the agreement was open for signature, 51 UN Member States and two international organizations had signed it. With more than 50 Members in such a short time span, IACA came to characterize one of the most successful international initiatives in history. On 8 March 2011, it gained the status of an international organization, and has since witnessed an ever growing number Members and partners.