International Association of Universities
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  • IAU at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

    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 HLPF 2019 will be dedicated to “ Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality ”.

    As the most global university association contributing to Sustainable Development and having the Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council, IAU will take an active part in the debates and will organize a series of side events, together with 8 IAU Member Universities.

    Follow the discussions and learn more about IAU’s contribution to the HLPF!


  • Registration is now open for #IAU2019!


    Hosted by Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), the IAU 2019 International Conference will take place in Puebla Mexico from 13-15 November 2019.

    With a view to exploring how leaders and experts of higher education institutions envisage higher education in the future, Transforming Higher Education for the Future is the theme of this year’s conference. The conference will constitute a platform not only for discussing opportunities, but also for outlining major challenges facing higher education today. Recognizing that higher education is exposed to a multitude of challenges in increasingly complex societies, this conference will, among others, consider the impact of technological advancements, and discuss the responsibility of higher education in the pursuit of sustainable development in a world where populations are increasingly impacted by the consequences of climate change.

    IAU believes that higher education has an essential role to play in proposing solutions as well as highlighting the ethical dimensions and social responsibility in relation to these transformations. Research can inform decisions-makers and community engagement can enable inclusive and innovative solutions to address societal challenges. As the global association of higher education institutions and organisations, we seek to generate a meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding about advancing higher education for sustainable societies.

    For thorough information on the theme, speakers and programme, visit the conference website!

    Register now and benefit from the early bird rate!

    Discover Puebla!
    See some highlights from the 2018 conference in Kuala Lumpur.

    Global Meeting of Associations (GMA)

    Hosted by Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) and co-organized with the Association of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL), the Global Meeting of Associations (GMA) will precede the International Conference, taking place on 12-13 November. This meeting is open exclusively to leaders of higher education associations, organizations and networks. It will offer the opportunity for peers to exchange on emerging trends in higher education in the different regions of the world, and to discuss opportunities for future partnerships.

    Registrations open in April and you may select the option "GMA" when you register for the IAU 2019 International Conference.

    For more information, please contact Trine Jensen.

  • Call for nominations - 2019 UNESCO ICT in Education Prize

    The UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education is now accepting candidatures. The theme of the 2019 edition is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to innovate education, teaching and learning .


    Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advancements in neuroscience have the potential to enhance teaching methodologies, support lifelong learning and personalize learning through various ways, as well as propel and accelerate the discovery of new delivering modes of education. Keeping in with Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, UNESCO with its partners is aiming to explore the effective and ethical use of AI applications to reduce barriers to access education and optimize learning processes with a view to improve learning outcomes.

    In 2019, the Prize will award AI-powered solutions as well as applications of neuroscience in AI aiming to improve learning outcomes, to empower teachers and to enhance the delivery of education services, while advocating for inclusive and equitable use of these technologies in education.


    As an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO and active in the field covered by the Prize, the International Association of Universities can submit up to three nominations to UNESCO, who will then select the two best projects among all nominations received. Two awards will be granted, and each recipient will receive a monetary award of USD 25,000 during the Award Ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

    Should you wish to submit a nomination to IAU, please contact Trine Jensen before 1 October 2019.


    For more detailed information on eligibility criteria, submission and nomination process, please see the flyer and visit UNESCO ICT in education Prize webpage.

  • Discover our new article in University World News

    Discover the article in University World News from June 2019, presenting the preliminary trends arising from IAU’s 5th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education,

    By Giorgio Marinoni, IAU Manager, Internationalisation policy and projects, and Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, United States, and member of the IAU Advisory Committee for the 5th IAU Global Survey on Internationalisation of Higher Education.

    Is inequality in internationalisation of HE on the rise?

    The internationalisation of higher education is a phenomenon that has implications far beyond the domain of higher education; it impacts society at large.

    According to the definition of Jane Knight, updated in 2015 by Hans de Wit and others, internationalisation is “an intentional process undertaken by higher education institutions in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society”.

    Assuming that internationalisation is an intentional process, the question arising is: how strategic is this process? In other words, is internationalisation at higher education institutions supported by a defined strategy, with clear objectives, actions, and point persons, framed within a realistic timeline and supported by the necessary (human and financial) resources?

    Is this strategy monitored and are outcomes evaluated? And in the current political climate of anti-globalisation, anti-immigration and increasing nationalism, to what extent is this strategy still relevant and up to date?

    The results of the 5th Global Survey on Internationalisation of Higher Education, an online survey conducted by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in 2018, help us address these questions.

    >> Read the full article on University World News

  • Congratulations to our new LGEU graduates!

    Last week, the 7th session of IAU’s leadership development programme, Leading Globally Engaged Universities (LGEU), took place in Paris, France. Led by Dr. Tom Kennie, leadership expert in HE, and the IAU Secretary General Dr. Hilligje van’t Land, the programme addresses the challenges of leading a university in today’s world—integrating at once local and global perspectives.

    ISIT - Institut de Management et de Communication Interculturels, an IAU Member, hosted the five-day seminar for socially engaged university leaders from all over the world: Bangladesh, Botswana, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Romania, Turkey and the United Kingdom. LGEU participants included Heads of Institutions, Vice-Presidents, Deans as well as Academic Department Heads and senior professional service leaders.

    Throughout the week, attendees participated in leadership development exercises, sharing their own insights and institutional approaches to global engagement. They also had the opportunity to learn about the French higher education system, through meetings with Campus France, Conference des Grandes Ecoles and the Association of Francophone Universities, as well as through a visit to the renowned Ecole Normale Supérieure.

    Look out for the LGEU#8 in Hong Kong !
    More information and dates will be communicated soon.

  • Take part in the 2nd Global Survey on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development!

    As Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are at the core of discussions about how universities can shape future societies, the International Association of Universities (IAU) has developed the 2nd Global Survey on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD).

    The main goal of the survey is to demonstrate the contribution of higher education to Agenda 2030 and to wider societal transformation. We aim to identify the ways in which universities incorporate sustainable development into teaching, learning and research, as well as into their day-to-day running, in order to provide a comparative analysis of HESD trends around the world, highlighting the diversity in the approaches to sustainable development.

    IAU will present the initial findings at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York, USA, to highlight the key role that higher education is playing in achieving the SDGs. It will next be presented at the IAU 2019 Conference in Puebla.

    Participants will also be able to use the results to inform their own decision-making, and benchmark their own institutions against others, in order to develop new and innovative strategies. The survey report will be published by the end of this year.

    The survey will only take 15-20 minutes to complete and is available in English ; French ; Portuguese and Spanish

    To ensure that we collect as many diverse perspectives as possible, we have designed the survey in such a way that anyone within an institution can contribute.
    Deadline : 1 July 2019.

    For more information, contact Isabel Toman.

  • IAU Horizons: The New Edition Is Out!

    The latest issue of IAU Horizons (24.1) has just been published.

    This issue offers detailed information about IAU’s most recent activities and suggests ways to get involved. It presents the topic of the IAU 2019 International Conference on 13-15 November and the Global Meeting of Associations on 12-13 November in Puebla, Mexico: Transforming Higher Education for the Future.

    The In Focus section features contributions to sustainable development from the lead institutions in the IAU Global Cluster on HESD. We hope that this will inspire other universities to join the effort towards achieving a more sustainable present and future.

    >> Read the new IAU Horizons

    >> Consult former issues

  • The IAU workshop on Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

    In the beginning of March, IAU held a workshop on Leveraging AI for Higher Education during the UNESCO’s flagship event “Mobile Learning Week” (MLW). IAU’s Members from Spain, Malaysia and South Africa described distinct opportunities and research to use AI for the benefit of higher education. The main aim of the workshop was to explore how to leverage AI for good— augmenting human intelligence through the support provided by machines and artificial intelligence.
    Agata Lapedriza, Professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain and Visiting Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Medialab, introduced the state of the art in Emotional Artificial Intelligence. She explained the role of emotional recognition in analyzing students’ experiences in the learning process. This tool has the potential to support student-centered learning and to tailor the learning process to the specific needs of individual students.

    Ram Gopal Raj, Deputy Director of the Centre for Academic Strategic Planning at the University of Malaya, spoke about its challenge to ensure employability of students. The university is therefore developing a Virtual Assistant Teacher service with a view to tracking the progress of student learning and competences and then linking this to the needs of employers. It thus hopes to ensure a more seamless transition from university to the world of work. Raj also underlined the necessity to continuously update the syllabus to reflect the rapid changes in technology and fluctuations of the labor market.

    Mandla Makhanya, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (UNISA), shared his experience at the largest online and distance learning university in Africa, with 800,000 students enrolled (75 % in Africa and 25 % in other regions). UNISA uses AI to process student applications in order to match the necessary requirements for enrollment with the information provided in the application form. Furthermore, they are testing how to better use this technology to assess when students are underperforming, so that university can offer them greater support.

    Daniel Burgos, Director of the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education at the International University of Rioja (UNIR), Spain introduced the potential of learning analytics using big data to enhance learning. He made a case for the use of OERs as a tool to make higher education more accessible and for more openness in education at large. He explained that 40 % of UNIR’s modules and support material is freely available whereas the remaining 60 % is fee-paying in order to sustain the work of the university.

    The session was well received by the audience and IAU was also pleased to ensure that the MLW included considerations specifically related to higher education. In effect, AI concerns society as a whole and will have an impact all fields, but the education sector, including higher education, plays a particularly important role as it plays a key role in shaping minds and preparing students for the life of work.

  • Take part in IAU Documentary Series!

    Dear Members,

    I am excited to announce that BBC StoryWorks, the commercial creative arm of BBC Global News, will produce a series on higher education for the IAU and the wider higher education community. The purpose is to reaffirm the fundamental values of higher education and its role in transforming societies. In order to do this, we will spotlight the work of IAU Member institutions contributing to this effort around the world.

    Higher education is instrumental to the development of sustainable and democratic societies; shaping minds, promoting diversity, leadership and social responsibility. In light of increasing global challenges, HEIs play a key role in addressing the societal transformations that lie ahead.


    • Highlight the importance of core values being implemented at universities to contribute to sustainable and fair societies
    • Understand and communicate how universities are central to prosperity, innovation and social change
    • Promote strong and diverse higher education systems and institutions


    As part of this process, I would like to invite you to share your impactful and innovative work. We’d like to know about the case studies and stories occurring within your institutions that translate core university values into action.

    In order to have real impact with viewers, it is vital that we bring to life work in the areas of internationalisation, technology, leadership and sustainable development. These are not only in line with the IAU’s strategic priorities, but also at the forefront of transformations in higher education today.

    BBC StoryWorks will produce mini documentary-style films that tell these meaningful stories. Their creative teams will work with various institutions around the world, to capture their work in a compelling and visually engaging way. Those involved in the project will be able to use this content in their communication, advocacy and fundraising efforts.


    Please express your interest in this project by responding to the three questions below. Selected institutions will be asked to fund the production costs of a mini-documentary. They will have the opportunity to shape the film’s creative treatment using BBC StoryWorks teams’ expertise and knowledge. The series will be distributed to relevant audiences across the globe in a cross-platform campaign managed by BBC StoryWorks.

    IAU is committed to ensuring the diversity of voices in this project. Whilst we understand the terms of this project might not be suitable for all IAU Members, we have worked to develop an approach that we hope will enable a broad range of institutions to participate.

    This opportunity is open exclusively to IAU Members. We welcome non-member institutions to discover IAU’s membership benefits and join the Association, in order to participate. For more information, please contact Juliette Becker.


    The deadline for expressions of interest from institutions is April 30. Please respond with the requested information and details before this date, after which point the BBC StoryWorks team will be in contact with those expressing an interest.

    Production will then be conducted in advance of the series launch at the IAU 2019 International Conference on 13-15 November in Puebla, Mexico.

    We hope this is not only an exciting opportunity for you to profile important initiatives of your institution on a global scale, but also for the higher education sector as a whole.

    I look forward to seeing your stories brought to screen, demonstrating the important role of higher education in societal development!

    Hilligje van’t Land, PhD
    IAU Secretary General
    Executive Director


    To express your interest in participating in the series, please respond to the following in an email to Elan Shuker:

    1. How are IAU’s core values reflected in your institution’s philosophy and overarching mission?
    2. Please describe one or two specific projects that contribute to positive change in society through internationalisation, technology, leadership and sustainable development (past, present or future)
    3. Please include any relevant links/URLs to supporting information or content.

    Please provide contact details for the leader of your institution (e.g. Chancellor / Vice Chancellor /President) as well as the Head of Marketing and Communications. Please include phone number and email address.

    For all IAU queries, please contact:
    Juliette Becker
    Programme & Membership Development Officer
    Juliette Becker

  • Outcomes of the 1st UNICA-IAU Master Class on Internationalization

    On 7-10 April, IAU held its first joint Master Class on Internationalziation with UNICA in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We welcomed 35 university leaders from 24 countries at University of Zagreb’s Center of Advanced Academic Studies. Beyond the geographic diversity, participants represented a great mixture of positions and professional backgrounds, which allowed for dynamic and nuanced discussions. The goal of the Master Class was to address the needs of today’s Vice-Rectors/-Presidents for internationalization, in order to achieve comprehensive and values-based internationalization. It combined plenary and interactive peer-learning sessions on a variety of topics, including strategic planning, global engagement, regional networks and language policy.

    “We were pleased to welcome such a diverse group of internationalization leaders. They not only exchanged on specific challenges and opportunities in their local contexts, but also critically discussed the latest trends in internationalization globally, based on the results of the IAU 5th Global Survey. For IAU, the Master Class also provided an opportunity to strengthen our collaboration with UNICA and promote our vision of fair and ethical internationalization,” said Giorgio Marinoni, the Manager of Internationalization Policy and Projects at IAU.

    Participants were encouraged to shape the agenda of the Master Class and themselves led several sessions presenting the experience of their home institutions. When it came to global trends, Marinoni presented the preliminary results from the IAU 5th Global Survey on Internationalization, which takes place every four years to identify and analyze emerging internationalization trends worldwide. The results—particularly about geographic priorities and perceptions of risks, benefits, drivers and obstacles to internationalization—helped inform the participants’ own strategic plans.

    “It was a real privilege to participate in the UNICA-IAU Master Class and exchange with decision-makers from universities around the world. I feel inspired and have found a renewed sense of motivation for my own role and daily tasks", said Prof. Gerhard Berchtold, Dean of European Programmes, UCN Universidad Central de Nicaragua.

    In their feedback participants indicated that they found the discussions enriching and networking allowed for potential partnerships, which they would like to develop further. IAU and UNICA to build on the positive outcomes of this initiative to strengthen the community spirit and continue promoting values-based internationalization.

    IAU will continue to offer Members and beyond opportunities for peer-learning and exchange, as we believe that these are key to making international interactions more equal and respectful of the diverse contents in which higher education institutions operate.

    To learn more about IAU’s work in internationalization, click here.

    Contact: Giorgio Marinoni

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