The regions of Alberta and the Free State of Saxony, represented by the Honourable Premier Ralph Klein and the Honourable Kurt Biedenkopf, signed a first Memorandum of Understanding on the 18th of February 2002. The three year agreement was extended for another five years in February 2005. In February 2010, a delegation led by the Minister-President of Saxony, the Honourable Stanislaw Tillich, visited Alberta to renew the twinning agreement with the Gouvernment of Alberta, represented by the Honourable Premier Ed Stelmach, for another five years in order to further strengthen the cooperation between the two regions until 2015.
The interregional cooperation between Alberta and Saxony focuses on partnerships in the key sectors of business development, science and technology as well as culture and education. In 2004, the cities of Edmonton and Leipzig signed a "Trade cities" agreement to promote economic ties and investment between the two urban centres and in 2005 the City and County of Leduc has been twinned with the town of Grimma.
It is in the context of the overall existing interregional partnership that the Alberta-Saxony Intercultural Internship Alliance (ASiiA) pilot-project was born. It was the next logical step to establish a cooperation between higher education institutions and the industry in order to foster a transfer of knowledge and skills between the two regions.
After an intensive coordination phase between the universities, the higher education institutions and the Ministries (Sächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft and Kunst and Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education), the LEONARDO-BÜRO SACHSEN developed an internship exchange program called the Alberta-Saxony Intercultural Internship Alliance (ASiiA). The greater part of the ASiiA funding during the pilot-project phase (2010-2012) was provided by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Technologie (BMWi) and the regional Ministries previously mentionned contributed with additional financial support. The continuation of the ASiiA program for 2015 and 2016 is financially supported by the Sächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft and Kunst and Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology.