Ikebana International

Ikebana International (I.I.) is a non-profit organisation that promotes mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through ikebana. Founder Ellen Gordon Allen's (1897–1972) dream was to unite the nations with "a veritable garland of flowers surrounding the world with beauty and binding us together in real and lasting friendship". The motto “Friendship through Flowers” developed out of that dream. In 1965 the Japanese government awarded Ellen Gordon Allen the Order of the Precious Crown, fifth class for I.I.’s work in helping to spread Japanese culture around the globe and promoting peace.

The honorary president is HIH Princess Takamado.

Ikebana International is the umbrella organisation and not a school of its own. Rather, it is a community of interest of different schools and practitioners, consisting of people of different nationalities. Many of the members have undergone years of training to become masters. Some schools place classical ikebana at the forefront of their teaching programmes, others prefer modern forms, and many combine both styles.

Ikebana International organises a world congress in Japan every five years. Regional Conferences are regularly advertised and held in all regions by the respective Regional Groups with financial support from headquarters.

Membership is open to all persons interested in the art of flower arranging and other Japanese arts, regardless of their knowledge of ikebana.

HIH Princess Takamado, Honorary President of I.I., surrounded by chapter presidents, at the World Congress in Okinawa on April 14, 2017

Members receive:
- 3x a year the illustrated magazine (in English) from the Tokyo headquarters with detailed information about Ikebana International activities, filled with beautiful pictures of flower arrangements by masters of the different schools as well as fascinating reports about the multifaceted art and culture of Japan.

- Newsletter with reports on the activities of the different chapters of I.I. and news from the headquarters with a greeting from the President

- Members' area and online shop

- Invitations to the world congress and regional conferences

- Discounted participation in workshops and events

- Networking opportunities with members around the world

More information is available on the homepage of Ikebana International: ikebanahq.org

Ursina Früh and Monika Nussberger during their demonstration as part of the member demonstrations at the World Congress


The organisation was founded in 1956 by Ellen Gordon Allen in Tokyo with the motto "Friendship through Flowers". To date, around 200 regional groups, so-called chapters, have been established worldwide. They are divided into seven regions (Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Middle East, North and Central America and South America).

The three Swiss I.I. chapters in chronological order of their founding are:


The General Assembly of all members shall be held each spring. The decisions of the General Assembly are:

• Business Plan and Budget

• Annual report and accounts

• Elections and installation of officers

• Other important business

• Minutes of the General Assembly

Membership is open to all persons. Regular members of a first chapter may become members of another chapter. As a secondary member, they pay only the local chapter dues of the second chapter. Regular members who move to another location may transfer the membership of their first chapter to a new first chapter upon presentation of the membership card or confirmation of payment of annual dues.

The chapter may appoint honorary members to persons who have rendered extraordinary service to the chapter. Honorary members may be elected by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Executive Committee.

If you are interested in membership please send an email. ⇦

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for the chapter. It is subject to Swiss association law and the international "General Management of the international Board of Directors" (BOD).

The Board consists of the elected Board members and the Presidents of the appointed Commissions. Chairpersons of special Commissions and liaisons to ikebana schools may attend Board meetings but have no voting rights.

The Past President (predecessor in office) may be a member of the Board but has no voting rights unless elected to another office.

The Executive Committee shall perform all duties pertaining to the affairs of the Chapter. Board members shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting in the spring for a term of two years and shall assume office immediately.

Further reading