The idea to establish an institute to collect and share the experiences of past democratic transitions originated from former US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice President of the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD). His proposal was followed by a meeting between the Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs and the US Secretary of State in June 2004. At a conference in Budapest in March 2005 civil society and governmental leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the USA, as well as representatives of a number of international organizations approved the concept paper on the new Centre. Subsequently, the idea was presented by the Hungarian Foreign Minister at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Santiago de Chile. Once again, the idea was well received and endorsed by the participating Foreign Ministers, representing more than 100 democratic governments of the world. Finally, in September 2005, the Hungarian president announced at the World Summit of the United Nations that “an International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT) has been set up in Budapest.
The founder of the ICDT is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary and was established as an organisational unit with independent legal entity status under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Democracy Public Foundation. It performs the necessary tasks to achieve the goals of the Centre for Democracy Public Foundation according to the Deed of Foundation of the Public Foundation.