In autumn 2014, ACIT was founded by Benjamin Bargetzi as a Zurich-based academic association for students with interdisciplinary interests. From the first day on and until today, ACIT’s goal has always been to connect bright and ambitious students from different educational and life backgrounds to analyse important topics within science, philosophy, and politics from different perspectives. This quest began with informal but regular meetings in the living rooms of the first few members, during walks in Zurich’s Irchel park, or whilst hiking in different mountains across Switzerland. At this point, the 3-weekly ACIT meetings were usually attended by 4-8 people, and despite the casual nature of the early beginnings, the highly diverse academic backgrounds of the participants made themselves noticeable and allowed highly differentiated insights into relevant topics within all sciences.
In early 2015, ACIT had grown significantly enough to start its first steps toward becoming an influential Swiss association that connects not only critically thinking students, but also open-minded professionals and thinkers. At this time, the range of discussed academic topics already covered the fields of psychology, physics, philosophy, linguistics, arts, literature, mathematics, economics, history, politics, biology, and law. ACIT thus decided to launch different digital solutions that allowed the exchange of intellectual thought even for those members who were not able to attend the physical meetings regularly.
From mid 2015 onwards, ACIT received financial as well as ideological support from the University of Zurich, which was convinced of the potential that ACIT holds for the education of Swiss students and the promotion of critical thinking within Switzerland. Now provided with a budget and lecture halls for their regular meetings, ACIT’s meetings were able to adapt the professional and still friendly atmosphere that they continued to hold until today. At this point, ACIT already connected dozens of people, and launched its first annual gathering in summer 2015 at the Hiltl restaurant in Zurich.
In 2016, ACIT further developed its programme to provide a more sophisticated experience for its members, and so various free training courses were offered, such as rhetorics, leadership, logic, de-biasing trainings, the history of philosophy and science, introductions to the natural sciences and economic concepts, and data analysis/digital skill seminars.
Throughout the year 2016, ACIT further expanded and diversified its programme to satisfy the demands of a broader audience, and it thus also started organising public talks where people who are interested in ACIT’s core vision may join and sit in.
Near the end of 2016, ACIT came up with the idea of creating a published journal for excellent PhD, Master and Bachelor theses written by students, so that the near endless intellectual efforts done by students around the world wouldn’t disappear into a folder unseen after their submission, but could instead be systematically brought together to create an interdisciplinary exchange. In Summer 2017, ACIT thus planned to launch the Journal for Critical and Interdisciplinary Thinking, a project aspiring to give students the chance to present their best work to an interested audience. ACIT also prepared to help the published authors to present their reasoning and arguments in a public talk hoping to give talented students the chance to get discovered by professors, companies or other organizations. After creating a large data base with papers, ACIT eventually couldn’t fire the project due to ownership law. However, the University of Zurich continued the project and the database and concept were given to the UZH which adapted this project since then, and inspired the organisation of events such as the Swiss Study Congress.
At the beginning of 2018, ACIT London was founded by Benjamin Bargetzi, creating the spark for international expansion. The association started becoming a global network where people can come together for ACIT’s annual conference.
At the end of 2018, ACIT Leipzig was founded, by Benjamin Bargetzi as well as Manuel Brenner who was aligned with the new international vision of the organization.
2019 was when ACIT Vancouver was founded with Patrick Juan, officially becoming the first ACIT branch within Canada.
ACIT’s next big project will take place in October; ACIT’s first global conference to bring together all the international branches and all the dispersed local groups of Switzerland, having the opportunity to build up its network of network thinkers.