International Association of Universities
The Global Voice of Higher Education
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About IAU

  • Contact

    International Association of Universities
    International Universities Bureau
    UNESCO House
    1, rue Miollis
    75732 Paris Cedex 15
    Tel.: (33 1) 45 68 48 00
    Fax: (33 1) 47 34 76 05

    Contact us

    You can leave a message using the contact form below.

  • Annual reports

    IAU annual reports provide a yearly overview of IAU activities and accomplishments. Featuring financial information, they contribute to the Association’s total transparency.


    Annual Report 2019


    Annual Report 2018

    - Annual Report 2017
    - Annual Report 2016
    - Annual Report 2015
    - Annual Report 2014
    - Annual Report 2013
    - Annual Report 2012
    - Annual Report 2011
    - Annual Report 2010
    - Annual Report 2009
    - Annual Report 2008
    - Annual Report 2007
    - Annual Report 2006
    - Annual Report 2005


    - IAU Activities and Financial Report 2012-2016
    - IAU Activities and Financial Report 2008-2012
    - IAU Activities and Financial Report 2004-2008
    - IAU Activities and Financial Report 2000-2004

  • Policy Statements

    IAU adopts positions and develops Policy Statements on issues of global concern for higher education. The topics are identified by the Association’s leadership and membership. Each Statement is the product of extensive drafting and international consultations. All statements are endorsed by the General Conference of the Association.

    The topics of such Policy Statements are usually identified by the Association’s leadership and membership as requiring the attention of the international academic community. IAU Policy Statements most frequently identify the issue area, present a number of key principles and include a few recommendations for action at either the institutional or the governmental level or both.

    Traditionally, the development of an IAU Policy Statement has been delegated by the IAU Administrative Board to a small Working Group or Reference Group whose members are drawn from each world region. IAU is committed to being the global voice for higher education institutions hence the international composition of the Expert Groups is essential in order to ensure that each Policy Statement reflects the collective interests of higher education without ignoring the specific concerns or interests of institutions in various parts of the world.

    IAU contributes to international debates on higher education by publishing papers on a variety of issues in journals, magazines and by contributing book chapters to key publications around the world. Please click here to view a sample. IAU takes part in debates to advance fair, inclusive and value based higher education around the world (please click here).

    IAU Policy Statements:

    - IAU Iquitos Statement on Education for Sustainable Development, 2014

    - Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education: A Call for Action, 2012

    - IAU-MCO Guidelines for an Institutional Code of Ethics in Higher Education, 2012, Prepared in collaboration with the Magna Charta Observatory

    - Equitable Access, Success and Quality in Higher Education, 2008

    - Sharing Quality Higher Education Across Borders: A Statement on Behalf of Higher Education Institutions Worldwide, 2005, List of signatories, Prepared in collaboration with AUCC, ACE and CHEA

    - Universities and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), 2004

    - Towards a Century of Cooperation: Internationalization of Higher Education, 2000

    -  Academic freedom, Institutional Autonomy and Social Responsibility , 1998

    - The Buenos Aires Statement on Higher Education Funding, 1994

    - Kyoto Declaration on Sustainable Development, 1993

  • Secretariat

    The International Universities Bureau is IAU’s permanent Secretariat and its major instrument of programme implementation, along with the Administrative Board, various Committees and Working Groups. Created by UNESCO in 1949, the Bureau was instrumental in preparing the International University Conference in Nice, 1950, at which the IAU was founded. Today, under the authority of the IAU and as a partner organization of UNESCO, its mission includes:

    • Monitoring and analysing trends in higher education and research at global level,
    • Collecting and sharing information,
    • Developing IAU positions and advocacy


    Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General bio contact

    Andreas Corcoran, Deputy Secretary General bio contact

    Saholi Andriambololo-Nivo, Assistant, Reference Publications bio contact

    Jessica Huang, Administrative Assistant bio contact

    Trine Jensen, Manager, HE & Digital Transformation, Publication and Events bio contact

    Disha Kohli, Manager, Communication & Media bio contact

    Giorgio Marinoni, Manager, HE and Internationalization policy and projects bio contact

    Angella Nino, Manager, Finances and Administration bio contact

    Nicholas Poulton, Information and Publication Officer bio contact

    Samuel Pousson, Assistant, Reference Publications bio contact

    Lianne Guerra Rondon, Project Officer bio contact

    Georgeta Sadlak, Manager, Information Systems bio contact

    Carine Sébast, Manager, Reference Publications bio contact

    Amanda Sudic, Librarian/Documentalist bio contact

    Isabel Toman, Programme Officer bio contact

    International Association of Universities - International Universities Bureau
    UNESCO House
    1, rue Miollis
    75732 Paris Cedex 15
    Tel.: (33 1) 45 68 48 00
    Fax: (33 1) 47 34 76 05
    Contact us here

  • Secretary General

    Hilligje van’t Land
    IAU Secretary General, International Association of Universities
    Executive Director, International Universities Bureau


    “I dedicated my career to the advancement of higher education.

    Today, I am proud to take up the responsibilities that come with the position of Secretary General of the prestigious International Association of Universities (IAU).

    In close collaboration with the IAU President, the Members of the Administrative Board, and the Members of the secretariat, I will continue the excellent work undertaken by my predecessor Eva Egron-Polak and will work to ensure an efficient and impactful implementation of the IAU vision and mission. The IAU Strategic Plan 2016-2020 adopted in Bangkok in November 2016 leads the way for the years to come but plans are also being elaborated for way beyond.

    IAU has worked to enhance international cooperation among universities since its inception. It has accompanied them in understanding and benefiting from a globalized world.

    The four key strategic priorities as selected by the Board provide a solid frame for action. IAU has developed unique advisory services on internationalization to assist higher education leaders define or refine their own internationalization strategies; the Association developed a strong leadership programme and provides several cooperation platforms. It fosters exchange on sustainable development teaching, research and campus initiatives, and is in the development phase of a new strategy to understand the contribution of ICTs both in teaching and research but also throughout the institution.

    The IAU knowledge hub - with its flagship publication, the World Higher Education Database (WHED), its peer reviewed research journal Higher Education Policy, its internationally renowned magazine IAU Horizons, the renewed ebulletin IAU Lynx, - is constantly updated and improved to better serve the global higher education community to the full.

    As IAU Secretary General, I am committed to ensure this Association brings the necessary support to its Member universities and organizations as well as the overall higher education community. I will promote the ethics and values that must underpin higher education and develop activities to support our community in responding to current challenges.”

  • President’s Message

    Dr. Pam Fredman
    IAU President (2016-2021)
    Former Rector of Gothenburg University, Sweden

    "Welcome to the IAU website. IAU is a global association for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and organizations; it promotes and advocates for Higher Education’s (HE) unique role in society to create, develop and disseminate knowledge and give way to a better world. IAU works in particular on four strategic priorities: leadership, internationalization, sustainable development (SD) and technology, and offers a platform for HE institutions and organizations to share experience and knowledge. It facilitates cooperation and helps build societal trust and respect for the HE sector. Special emphasis is put on safeguarding the values upon which to build sound education systems of value for the many.

    Called into life in 1950 by UNESCO, IAU celebrates 70 years of international exchange and cooperation. It acts as the voice for HE to policy-makers, stakeholders and civil society. It fosters true recognition of the importance of research and education for societal development, peace, and democracy.

    In particular, IAU has focused on and engaged in Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) for more than 25 years. It has carried out two global surveys on HESD; the Survey Reports allow to understand the development of increased research and education action and initiatives by HEIs and show the increased understanding of the importance of Agenda 2030 and HE engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    To further strengthen cooperation among HEIs to address the goals set by Agenda 2030, IAU created the Global Cluster on HESD. It brings together lead universities to work on each of the goals. IAU is responsible for SDG-17. Today, the network consists of more than 80 universities from around the world. The members of the Cluster have taken an active part in the UN High Level Political Forum in 2019 and 2020. Thanks to IAU and key HE partners around the world, the United Nations better recognize HE’s important role in realizing Agenda 2030 and its 17 sustainable goals (SDGs). The IAU website and the IAU HESD Portal showcase the various uptake opportunities that are available.

    To discuss the future of HE we need to address the challenges posed by the current Covid-19 pandemic and its short, medium and long-term consequences locally and globally. Consequences affect all SDGs and impact society as a whole. The effects of the pandemic on HE globally have been captured in the first IAU global survey Report on the impact of COVID19 on HE, published in June 2020. Two other surveys are planned. The lessons to be learned for future development are explored within all IAU priority areas of work.
    IAU has pivoted most of its activities online. We currently offer a high-level Webinar Series on the Future of Higher Education; we monitor impacts around the world, have engaged in the UNESCO Global Coalition on Education, multiplied engagement opportunities online.

    IAU is pleased to act as a global platform and voice for HEIs and organizations. The IAU legitimacy as a global platform and voice for HE is based on the Members’ representativity thus reinforcing the Association’s breadth - geographically, culturally, and institutionally. I look forward to exchanging with the IAU Members and to their continued support enhancing the value of IAU for the future of Higher Education. Your participation is essential. Together we can promote and advocate for the key role of HE teaching & learning, research and community engagement activities to develop the society we need and want.

    I am pleased to serve the Association and will ensure its presidency until we next meet at UCD in Dublin in October 2021, on the occasion of the IAU 16th General Conference on Relevance and value of Universities to Future Society. Make sure you are part of the dynamic opportunities on offer and to contribute to the overall vision and mission of this unique organization."

    Pam Fredman

  • Governance Structure

    The International Association of Universities is a membership organization. It is governed by its members who are represented or elect their representatives to three different decision-making bodies. The two main categories of members who hold decision making power are the institutional members (universities & other higher education institutions) and organizational members (association of universities). IAU official statutory documents: IAU Consitution & IAU By Laws



    The General Conference is the highest decision-making body of the association. It is composed of all IAU institutional and organizational members. The General Conference meets every four years. The General Conference decides on the main strategic goals of the association, approves its four year plans, any policy statements or positions elaborated. It elects the President and members of the Administrative Board.


    Elected for a 4-year non-renewable term, the IAU President is elected from among members of the Administrative Board by the General Conference. He/She chairs the Administrative Board and the Executive Committee.

    All the member of the Administrative Board are elected for a four-year term. In addition to the President, the Board comprises 20 members (18 heads of member institutions & 2 heads of member organizations). It also comprises two ex-officio members (Immediate Past President & the Secretary General). Deputy members are also elected for each region and each category of members. A balanced geographic and gender representation are taken into consideration. The Administrative Board meets annually, ensures that decisions of the General Conference are implemented and guides the work of the IAU Secretariat. Some of its work is carried out through specific committees and working groups.

    The Executive Committee is composed of the President and four Vice-Presidents (representing each region of the world). It meets twice a year. The vice-presidents are designated by the President from among the Administrative Board members and their nomination is approved by the Administrative Board. The IAU Secretary General serves as secretary to the Executive Committee. The Committee acts on behalf of the Administrative Board between meetings. It guides the Association’s action agenda. It provides support to the President of the Association by preparing the meetings of the Administrative Board.


    IAU Administrative Board meeting at the University of Malaya ahead of the 2018 IAU International Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Pam Fredman, Former Rector, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

    Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Rector at the International ‎Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Malaysia




    Asia & Pacific



    • Zoltan Dubéczi, Secretary-General, MRK (Hungarian Rectors Conference), Hungary
    • Roberto Escalante Semerena, Secretary-General, UDUAL (Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe), Mexico (IAU Vice-President)

    Secretary General


    Asia & Pacific



    • Justin Thorens, President 1985-1990, Former Rector, Université de Genève, Switzerland
    • Hans Van Ginkel, President 2000-2004, Former Rector, Utrecht University, Netherlands; Former Rector, United Nations University, Japan
    • Goolam Mohamedbhai, President 2004-2008, Former Secretary-General, Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana
    • Juan Ramón De La Fuente, President 2008-2012, Former Rector, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

    • 1950-1955: 1st President - Jean Sarrailh, Rector of the University of Paris, France
    • 1955-1960: 2nd President - J. Baugniet, Rector Emeritus of the Universityof Brussels, Belgium
    • 1960-1965: 3rd President - F. Cyril James, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of McGill University, Canada
    • 1965-1970: 4th President - C. K. Zurayk, Professor of History, American University of Beirut and former rector, University of Damascus, Syria
    • 1970-1975: 5th President - V. Merikoski, Professor of law, University of Helsinki, Finland
    • 1975-1980: 6th President - Roger Gaudry, Professor of History, Former rector University of Montreal,Canada
    • 1980-1985: 7th President - Guillermo Soberon, Rector, National Autonomous University of Mexico had to step down in 1982 when he was appointed Minister of Public Health in Mexico. The Vice-Presidents, Dr. Sendov, Former Rector, University of Sofia, Bulgaria
      and Dr. Meyerson, President Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania were acting Presidents until the following elections.
    • 1985-1990: 8th President - Justin Thorens, former rector, University of Geneva, Switzerland
    • 1990-1995: 9th President - Walter Kamba, Vice-Chancellor, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
    • 1995-2000: 10th President - Wataru Mori, Former President of the University of Tokyo, Japan
    • 2000-2004: 11th President - Hans Van Ginkel, Rector of the United Nations University (UNU)
    • 2004-2008: 12th President - Goolam Mohamedbhai, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
    • 2008-2012: 13th President - Juan Ramón De La Fuente, Former Rector, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
    • 2012-2016: 14th President - Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Former rector of University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia


    - Pam Fredman, Former Rector, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

    - Abdul Ganiyu Ambali, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
    - Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, Siam University, Thailand (First VP)
    - Remus Pricopie, Rector, National University of Political and Administrative Studies, Romania (Treasurer)
    - Roberto Escalante Semerena, Secretary-General, UDUAL (Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe), Mexico

    - Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General

  • Vision & Mission

    Founded in 1950, under the auspices of UNESCO, the International Association of Universities (IAU) is the leading global association of higher education institutions and organisations from around the world.

    IAU brings together its Members from more than 130 countries for reflection and action on common priorities. IAU is an independent, bilingual (English and French), non-governmental organization. It acts as the global voice of higher education to UNESCO and other international higher education organizations, and provides a global forum for leaders of institutions and associations. Its services are available on the priority basis to Members but also to organisations, institutions and authorities concerned with higher education, as well as to individual policy and decision-makers, specialists, administrators, teachers, researchers and students.

    IAU is an official partner of UNESCO (Associate status) and has been given special consultative status by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

    For more information on IAU’s activities and membership, please consult our brochure.

    IAU aims to be the most representative and influential global association of diverse higher education institutions and their organizations, promoting and advancing a dynamic leadership role for higher education in society.

    IAU promotes collaboration among its Members by articulating the fundamental values and principles that underpin the pursuit, dissemination and application of knowledge. The Association advocates for higher education policies and practices that respect diverse perspectives and promote social responsibility. With a particular emphasis on values and leadership, and acting as a forum for sharing and joint action, IAU encourages innovation, mutual learning and cooperation among institutions.

    IAU promotes core values among its members and the wider higher education community including:
    • Academic freedom, institutional autonomy and social responsibility locally and globally
    • Cooperation and solidarity based on mutuality of interests and shared benefits
    • Tolerance of divergent opinions, freedom from political interference
    • Equity in access and success in higher education and open access to knowledge
    • Scientific integrity and ethical behaviour as cornerstones of conduct for all stakeholders in higher education
    • Higher education and research in the public interest
    • Quality in learning, research and outreach


    IAU works to enhance higher education community’s role and actions in advancing societies worldwide. As a global membership organization, IAU represents and serves the full spectrum of higher education institutions and their associations. The Strategic plan 2016-2020, adopted during the 15th IAU General Conference, in 2016, it deepens IAU’s focus on four key higher education priority themes, while improving support and services to members as well as enhancing their visibility and engagement. Under the current circumstances marked by COVID 19, the IAU strategic plan is extended until 2021.

    IAU 4 strategic priorities:

    IAU fulfils its goals through:

    • Expertise development & trends analysis
    • Publications & specialized portals
    • Advisory services
    • Training & peer-to-peer learning
    • Knowledge sharing events
    • Global advocacy & representation

    IAU continuously enhances its efficiency by:

    • Engaging & enlarging IAU membership
    • Ensuring financial sustainability
NGO in official partnership with UNESCO in associate status
International Association of Universities, UNESCO House, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris cedex 15, France
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