International Association of Universities
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  • New IAU Report: Regional & National Perspectives on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education

    The International Association of Universities publishes a new report on Regional & National Perspectives on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education

    Following the publication of its First Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education, the International Association of Universities (IAU) releases a new report providing Regional and National Perspectives on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education .

    The IAU’s first Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education was conceived to better understand the disruption caused by COVID-19 across higher education institutions worldwide and to investigate the first measures undertaken by them. It aimed to capture a description of the impact of COVID-19 at the global level and on higher education in the broader sense, including all areas: teaching & learning, research, and community engagement.

    In order to complement the report and shed some light on the above mentioned topics, IAU called its member organizations to contribute to a new report focusing on Regional/National perspectives by contextualizing the results of the IAU global survey in their local realities and providing additional information.

    The report presents success stories at regional and national level in Asia, Europe, and North America.


  • A new statement to reaffirm the importance of international Higher Education

    The International Association of Universities contributes to the publication of a new Statement on the importance of international higher education and research

    In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Network of International Education Associations (NIEA) whose IAU is the coordinator, publishes a statement reaffirming the importance of international higher education and research, calling for governments and higher education institutions around the world to support international collaboration as an essential means to finding solutions to global issues, which manifest differently in various local contexts.

    The statement calls for:
    - National governments to:

    • Ensure higher education entities are considered key stakeholders in achieving sustainable development;
    • Support international higher education and research;
    • Increase access to international higher education opportunities globally;
    • Ensure equality;
    • Increase openness to and promote innovation in cooperation in research and internationalization of higher education

    - Higher Education Institutions to:

    • Promote and participate in cross-sectoral collaboration;
    • Improve knowledge development and dissemination;
    • Increase diversity and eliminate discrimination;
    • Develop co-curricular programmes and implement Internationalization at Home;
    • Make an Institutional commitment to society.

    The International Association of Universities (IAU):
    - Fully supports the NIEA call towards national governments around the world;

    - Invites its members to implement the NIEA actions called for, to foster the advancement of international higher education and research.

    >> Not a Member of IAU yet?


  • A partnership for the higher education sector

    IAU, ACU & AUF’s sign a Memorandum of Understanding

    Universities are key to healthier, greener, fairer societies. Their response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical contribution they make to their communities. None of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved without the contribution of higher education – through research, teaching, and community engagement.

    Higher education is an essential part of a strong and sustainable education ecosystem, and develops the critical thinking and skills required by engaged citizens. Internationalisation in higher education, through partnerships and mobility, is essential to the health and vitality of the sector globally.

    The need for equitable quality higher education is arguably greater than ever, as is the need to advocate for the role of higher education in sustainable development at the highest levels, such as the United Nations. This requires a global response enabled by international cooperation.

    That’s why the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), and the International Association of Universities (IAU) have formalised their collaboration through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed during the 2020 UN High-level Political Forum.

    Together, the three associations represent more than 2,000 higher education institutions across more than 140 countries – providing a strong base to advocate for higher education on a wide international scale.

    The UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is a key platform for the three organisations, who have used this year’s event to continue promote the role of higher education in sustainable development. Read our joint statement on higher education’s essential contribution to the SDGs made at the 2019 HLPF.

    Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU, said ‘International collaboration in higher education is more important than ever. We are delighted to have signed this MoU with our partners, the AUF and the IAU. It will enable us to build on our existing complementary activities and develop joint initiatives to engage our members and the wider higher education sector’.

    Professor Slim Khalbous, Rector of the AUF, said ‘The strength of the relationship between the world’s three largest global academic associations lies essentially in the complementarity between our exclusive positions and our different offers on several levels – in terms of geographical presence, cultural background, institutional organisation, and priority themes. Consequently, I believe that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between our three organisations emphasises this diversity, which is necessary for a more active and more recognised role for higher education in the world’.

    Dr Hilligje van’t Land, IAU Secretary General underlines that ‘Strong international and multicultural higher education cooperation will lead to the development of a more sustainable world. This partnership contributes to this dynamic and will foster the importance of whole of institutional and interdisciplinary approaches to issues analysed, debated and taught at universities around the world, while linking it to the 17 SDGs adopted as part of UN Agenda 2030. This will enhance the overall quality of higher education’.

    The MoU outlines the associations’ commitment to three priority areas for collaboration: higher education for sustainable development; the quality and vitality of higher education systems; and internationalisation in higher education. A joint working group, with representatives from each association, will develop a work plan, coordinate advocacy, and monitor the progress of activities developed under the MoU.

  • Join IAU at the Virtual High Level Political Forum!

    The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the yearly conference of the United Nations where governments, UN Agencies and civil society come together to discuss the achievements that have been made towards Agenda 2030.

    This year, the event will be held virtually and will be dedicated to the theme: "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development." IAU holds the Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which allows the Association to take an active part in this high level event. The Consultative Status is the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organizations.

    In the framework of the HLPF, IAU will take part in various virtual side events and will co-organize a series of virtual events, together with partners and Members. Amongst these, IAU is co-organizing a workshop on 13 July 2020 from 9:00 to 10:30am EST on the theme Teaching, Learning and Integrating the SDGs at universities and beyond - Linking to the Decade of Action with ACU/AUF, ICAE and The SDG Academy. You can register to attend the workshop and other events!

    >>> Learn more about IAU at the HLPF!<<<

  • Sign up for a free webinar on Internationalization strategies post-COVID-19

    IAU Webinar on The Future of higher Education: Internationalization strategies post COVID-19

    IAU, in collaboration with Boston College International Centre for Higher Education, offers a unique opportunity to attend a webinar with higher education experts from different regions of the world who will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on internationalization and the kind of internationalization strategies that higher education institutions may have to develop in the post COVID-19 era.

    Date: Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
    Time: 8:00 am ET – 9:30 am ET / 14:00 - 15:30 CEST (Paris time)


    The webinar will address questions such as:

    • What is the future of internationalization?
    • Is the post-COVID-19 world an opportunity to rethink and reorient internationalization?
    • Will internationalization become more inclusive?
    • Is the post-COVID-19 world an opportunity to foster collaboration rather than competition in research?

    >> Speakers:
    • Chika Seehole, Pretoria University, South Africa, on perspectives from Africa
    • Vidya Yeravdekar, Symbiosis University, India, on perspectives from Asia
    • Irina Ferencz, Academic Cooperation Association, on perspectives from Europe
    • José Celso Freire Junior, UNESP, Brazil, on perspectives from Latin America
    • Robin Helms, American Council on Education, on perspectives from North America

    >> Moderators:
    • Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General, International Association of Universities
    • Hans de Wit, Director, Centre for International Higher Education, Boston College
    • Giorgio Marinoni, Manager, HE and Internationalization, International Association of Universities

    Recordings and presentations from past webinars are available here.

  • Call for papers in IAU Horizons: Imagining Higher Education in a Post-Pandemic World

    Contribute to the "In Focus" section of the next issue of IAU Horizons (25.2) dedicated to the theme "Imagining Higher Education in a Post-Pandemic World"

    While it is impossible to predict the future, it is important to assess and discuss the risks and opportunities deriving from the disruption and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. From one day to another higher education institutions had to adapt to a completely different situation in order to carry out their mission. They had to rely on agility, goodwill, and innovation alongside digital means in order to minimise the disruptions and continue activities to the extent possible despite drastically changed working conditions. In most cases, the lockdown measures have impacted all levels of activities at institutions from the overall governance, teaching & learning, research, student recruitment and enrolment, assessments and exams to community engagement activities (cf. IAU Global Impact Survey).

    The purpose of this ‘In Focus’ section is not to showcase the temporary measures put in place to deal with the crisis, but rather:

    - to provide reflections and analytical perspectives about how the crisis will influence the future of higher education in a post pandemic world; look at what will be the key priorities emerging from the health crisis and addressing the economic and social crisis that it has triggered.

    - a call for higher education leaders to express their concerns and views on the major risks the sector will be facing moving forward as well as the opportunities emerging from this time of change.

    The degree of the disruptions, the consequences and the long term impact will be diverse in different parts of the world - yet, we believe it is crucial to bring together voices from all regions of the world to discuss what is at stake for higher education moving forward.

    If you wish to contribute to the ’In Focus’ section of the next issue of IAU Horizons, please send your expression of interest (max. 800 words) to Trine Jensen explaining what topic you wish to address and share a few lines about the scope of the article.

    Deadline for expression of interest: 6 July 2020
    Deadline for submission of full article: 15 August 2020

    >> Discover previous issues of IAU Horizons

  • Register for a webinar on the Future of Academic Freedom

    Join IAU’s next webinar, in partnership with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation/CIGQ, on the Future of Acamedic Freedom!

    Academic freedom has emerged as an issue of profound importance during the past few years, especially as we have seen changes in governments around the world. It is receiving even more attention now, given the Covid-19 pandemic and the current social unrest around race and equity.

    The Webinar will debate the contours of academic freedom both as it relates to institutions and quality assurance: What rights and obligations are attached to it from a European, Latin American and Scholars at risk perspectives, and how these concepts are being challenged today?

    - Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020
    - Time: 8:00 am ET – 9:30 am ET / 14:00 - 15:30 CEST
    - Speakers: Robert Quinn, Scholars at Risk; Marcelo Knobel, Rector, University of Campinas, Brazil; Sjur Bergen, Head of Education Department, Council of Europe

    >> REGISTER <<

    The webinar is free of charge.

    Presentations and recordings from previous webinars are available here.

    For more information about the Council for Higher Education Accreditation/CIGQ, please visit

  • IAU and UNESCO IESALC tie-up to boost the use of evidence in higher education policymaking

    The International Association of Universities (IAU) and the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO IESALC) have teamed up to boost quality and equity in higher education, through a series of joint activities in globally and in particular in Latin America and the Caribbean. The activities are intended to increase the evidence base for better policy-making on higher education, both at national and institutional level.

    UNESCO IESALC and the IAU will cooperate on the publication of regional reports drawing on IAU’s global surveys and thus disseminating the available evidence in critical areas such as the contribution of higher education to the Sustainable Development Goals, the digitalization of higher education, the internationalization of higher education, and the impact of COVID-19 on higher education, among others.

    The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) was created by the UNESCO General Conference in 1997, replacing the Regional Center for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CRESALC for its Spanish abbreviation) established in 1974. It is the sole specialized institute of the United Nations system with the mission to contribute to the improvement of higher education in member States. Its biennial work program and budget are approved at the UNESCO General Conference. The Institute, established in Caracas (Venezuela) since its inception, is governed by a Governing Board whose members are appointed by the Director General of UNESCO.

    The International Association of Universities (IAU) was founded in 1950, under the auspices of UNESCO. It 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, 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).

  • IAU 16th General Conference Postponed - New dates announced!

    IAU 16th General Conference: New dates announced!

    Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the International Association of Universities has made the difficult decision to postpone the IAU 16th General Conference initially scheduled to take place from 3 to 6 November 2020. The new dates announced are 26 to 29 October 2021.

    The high degree of uncertainty about the future, about travel opportunities, and about organizing safe gatherings entails that the current conditions do not allow IAU to ensure wide participation from around the world in November this year. The IAU was formed to foster exchange and international collaboration among universities and other higher education institutions. Being able to offer a truly global and inclusive event to leaders of higher education worldwide is thus essential to IAU!

    Please mark the new dates in your calendar and make sure to attend this important event. The theme of the Conference, Relevance and value of universities to future society, remains of utmost importance as we prepare to confront the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with their fantastic team, we look forward to welcoming you to University College Dublin (UCD), an IAU Member, in 2021!

    More information about the IAU 16th General Conference will be made available on the IAU Global Events page page in due time. In the meantime, make sure that you are registered for the IAU Newsletter or Twitter to receive the information to attend webinars planned to unfold throughout the year allowing IAU Members and beyond to continue to exchange and discuss important topics of concern online.

  • New webinar on the Future of Higher Education: Sign up now!

    New webinar on the Future of Higher Education: Sign up now!

    The International Association of Universities (IAU) is pleased to continue its series of free webinars on the Future of Higher Education.

    Results of the 1st IAU Global Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education will be presented by Giorgio Marinoni, IAU Manager, HE and Internationalization.

    - When? Tuesday 9 June 2020 - 15:30 - 17:00 CEST (Paris time).

    A panel of HE experts will comment on the results of the IAU Global Survey. The panel members are:
    - Hans de Wit, Director, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College
    - Michael Gaebel, Higher Education Policy Director, European University Association
    - Marta Losada, Dean of Science, New York University Abu Dhabi

    Attendees will have the opportunity to exchange in real time during the webinar!

    >> REGISTER NOW! <<

    Recordings and presentations from previous webinar sessions are available here.

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