International Association of Universities
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Strategic priorities

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  • Internationalization

    Internationalization of higher education is an inevitable process in the era of globalization and a deliberate strategy for improving quality and relevance. IAU focuses on the academic rationales, the equitable and collaborative nature of the process and aims to minimize the adverse effects of international interactions when these take place in highly unequal and diverse contexts among HEIs with different, resources, needs and interests.


    IAU aims at retaining a leadership role in HE Internationalization which focuses on quality of learning, research and outreach for all.

    Overall objectives for 2016-2020:

    • Provide critical analysis of current trends
    • Research on global developments
    • Increase tailored advisory services
    • Expand IAU expertise in benchmarking and impact assessment
    • Provide information and develop global advocacy


    Over the years, the concept of internationalization has evolved and different definitions exist, IAU adopts the following: “[Internationalization of Higher Education is] the intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society.“ (De Wit, H., Hunter F., Howard L., Egron-Polak E. (Eds.) (2015) “Internationalization of Higher Education”, European Parliament, Brussels: EU).

    This recently refined definition emphasizes the fact that internationalization is an intentional process, not a passive experience. It underscores that internationalization is not a goal in itself, but a means of enhancing quality and excellence of higher education and research. In addition, the definition notes that internationalization needs to serve societal needs, rather than focusing solely on economic rationales and returns. Although globalization affects all institutions, HEIs experience different pressures; they exist in different contexts, and have different needs. Therefore, there is no “one size fits all” model or approach for internationalization, rather, each HEI must find its own way of internationalizing. At the same time, all HEIs can benefit from the best thinking and good practice from other institutions around the world. This is why IAU developed the internationalization strategies advisory service: ISAS (2.0).



    The objective of the ISAS impact evaluation study, conducted in partnership between IAU and the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, is to investigate the efficacy of the Internationalization Strategy Advisory Services (ISAS) and its successor program ISAS (2.0) on internationalization initiatives at higher education institutions.

    Research objectives of this study are three-fold:

      • To identify progress institutions have made at the suggestion of ISAS;
      • To identify the reason for gaps between recommendations and implementation, defined as barriers to internationalization;
      • To analyze and share results that inform the development of IAU’s future advisory services.

    12 of the 17 institutions that ever undertook an ISAS or ISAS (2.0) service participated in the study. The sampling of institutions included in this study, with unique regional, national and institutional contexts, are a microcosm of global higher education at large. Yet collectively, their responses convey that internationalization remains a pressing priority of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), regardless of geographic location.

    The results show that every university indicated that working with ISAS was helpful in advancing internationalization initiatives. This is a clear endorsement of ISAS by the institutions.

    In their quest for internationalization, all institutions inevitably face challenges. Overcoming those challenges requires a clear, strategic approach, one that is responsive and in alignment with the core mission and values of the institution. IAU through its advisory services stands ready to help institutions in refining or progressing their internationalization priorities built on an inclusive, fair and ethical process.


    Launched in 2016, ISAS (2.0) builds on the former IAU ISAS program, created to help HEIs develop or review their internationalization policies, strategies and programs. ISAS (2.0) consists of several different but complementary services designed for IAU Institutional Members (HEIs), individuals at HEIs, national governments and organizations.

    It consists of three services:
    - Advancing strategic internationalization at HEIs (for HEIs)
    - Facilitating individual learning for internationalization for HEIs and individuals working at HEIs. (for HEIs and individuals at HEIs)
    - National advisory service for strategy or policy development for HE internationalization (for national governments, agencies and organizations)

    ISAS (2.0) promotional leaflet

    List of past and ongoing ISAS 2.0 projects

    Giorgio Marinoni

    There are 4 strands of service designed specifically for HEIs.. The duration of each strand of service depends on the specific needs of the HEIs but typically is between 6 and 12 months. Each strand culminates with the award of an IAU internationalization learning badge. Institutions awarded an IAU internationalization learning badge must follow the guidelines for use.

    Planning and Strategy

    Target audience
    Higher Education Institutions at early development stage of internationalization

    Help the institution develop and/or refine its internationalization strategy.


    • Mapping and reviewing internationalization policies and actions at the institution
    • Developing or revising the internationalization strategy
    • IAU Learning Badge rewarded: Planning and Strategy

    Detailed procedure


    HEI Low income country Middle income country High income country
    IAU member 18 000 euros 20 000 euros 22 000 euros

    Assessing Strategy and Monitoring Achievements

    Target audience
    HEIs having an already implemented internationalization strategy

    Help the institution assess its strategy for internationalization and their monitoring achievements and progress towards the goals outlined in its internationalization strategy.


    • Evaluating the institutional strategy and reviewing of monitoring framework
    • Monitoring progress
    • IAU Learning Badge rewarded : Strategy Monitoring and Achievements

    Detailed procedure


    HEI Low income country Middle income country High income country
    IAU member 18 000 euros 20 000 euros 22 000 euros

    Enhancing a specific area of internationalization

    Target audience
    Higher Education Institutions interested in a specific area of internationalization

    Enabling institutions to focus on a particular area of internationalization requiring special enhancing and monitoring efforts including:
    - Governance and management structures for internationalization;
    - Internationalization at home;
    - Internationalization of research;
    - Internationalization of the curriculum;
    - Language policy;
    - Strategic partnerships;
    - Academic and non-academic staff mobility;
    - Student mobility;
    - Transnational/cross border education;
    - On-line and distance learning.


    • Reviewing fitness of purpose of specific goals and objectives for the area of focus within the overall institutional context
    • Assessing the implementation strategies adopted and pursued to achieve objectives
    • Providing recommendations for developing new activities in the specific area
    • Reviewing and/or developing indicators for evaluating progress
    • Evaluating achievement
    • IAU Learning Badges rewarded: Governance or Internationalization at home or Curriculum, Language policy, Strategic partnership, Staff mobility, Student mobility, Distance learning, Research

    Detailed procedure


    HEI Low income country Middle income country High income country
    IAU member 10 000 euros 12 000 euros 14 000 euros

    Achieving comprehensive internationalisation

    Comprehensive Internationalization is increasingly the goal of many institutions that have emphasized internationalization for some time and have devoted particular attention and resources to developing a comprehensive approach within their institution.
    This strand of service is highly selective, not all institutions that would wish to choose this strand might be ready for it.

    Target audience
    Higher Education Institutions at advanced development stage of internationalization

    Assess to what extent the HEI is achieving Comprehensive Internationalization


    • Submission of an application by the institution
    • IAU submission evaluation: decision on acceptance or suggestion to undertake another strand of service of ISAS (2.0)
    • Asses to what extent the HEI is achieving Comprehensive Internationalization, that is, looking at the extent to which internationalization is pervasive throughout the institution.
    • IAU Learning Badge rewarded: Comprehensive Internationalization

    Detailed procedure


    HEI Low income country Middle income country High income country
    IAU member 22 000 euros 24 000 euros 26 000 euros

    One of the major institutional obstacles to internationalization is the limited expertise of academic and administrative staff working at HEIs. IAU has therefore developed this service, intended for individuals and groups of individuals at one or more HEIs wishing to improve their knowledge, skills and competences related to strategic planning and monitoring of internationalization of higher education. It consists of two main strands of service:

    Training workshops for professional development of senior academic and administrative staff

    Target audience
    Higher Education Institutions (or groups of HEIs)
    Enhance staff development to allow them to gain expertise in internationalization process.

    Duration: 2-3 days


    • Request for workshop by an HEI, National rectors’ conferences, national university associations or networks.
    • Tailored-made peer-to-peer workshop by IAU
    • IAU charges to the host institution an all-inclusive fee for the workshop design.
    • Host institution is responsible for the logistics related costs and can charge fees to workshop participants, which must be agreed upon by IAU

    Detailed procedure

    Fees will be negotiated with the host institution on a case-by-case basis.

    Webinars on specific topics on internationalization for academic and administrative staff

    IAU aims to expand the range of learning opportunities available to individuals, and to offer to all individuals at HEIs the opportunity to access its programs.

    In October 2018 the first ISAS (2.0) webinars took place. The topic of the first webinar was “Developing a Strategic Approach to Internationalization”. The speakers were the IAU Senior Fellows Eva Egron-Polak and Madeleine Green. To maximize outreach and accommodate time differences, IAU conducted the webinar in both English and French and re-broadcasted the original English language session.

    The English language webinars drew 36 participants from all over the world, including Australia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and the USA. IAU received positive feedback and participants expressed enthusiasm about IAU’s plans to continue this initiative. Participation was low in the French webinar. Moving forward, IAU will thus develop a whole series of webinars in English, each dedicated to a specific pressing topic in international education.


    Higher education has become a high-level priority for more and more national governments, some of which have adopted national strategies for internationalization or plan to develop one. IAU has gained significant experience in helping national governments and organizations in the development of national strategies and policies for internationalization (e.g Romania, Malaysia).

    Tailored approach at national level

    Target audience
    National governments, governmental agencies and organizations

    Provide international expertise to assist the government (or governmental organization) in developing a proposal for a national strategy

    The approach is tailored to the specific needs of the country. It can focus exclusively on the national policy level, with IAU providing international experts to assist the government or governmental organization in developing a proposal for a national strategy.

    Detailed procedure

    Fees are agreed upon on a case by case basis

    ’Bottom-up’ approach

    Target audience
    National governments, governmental agencies and organizations

    Provide international expertise to assist the government (or governmental organization) in developing a proposal for a national strategy

    The process of designing or revising a national policy can also involve working ’bottom-up’, meaning working at the same time at governmental and institutional levels. It consists in assisting a group of HEIs in revising and developing their institutional internationalization strategies while helping the government or governmental organization developing a proposal for a national strategy. This simultaneous process ensure that national policy recommendations are based on a understanding of HEIs needs and visions.

    Detailed procedure

    Fees are agreed upon on a case by as basis.



    IAU publishes Internationalization of Higher Education: An Evolving Landscape, Locally and Globally

    One of IAU’s strategic priorities is to promote an inclusive, fair and ethical process of internationalization of higher education. IAU advocates for internationalization as a means to improve the quality of teaching and learning, research and service to society for all students and staff.

    Knowing how the process of internationalization is evolving is paramount to gain a thorough understanding of its potential benefits and risks. Researching global trends is essential for IAU to continue providing the required support to higher education institutions (HEIs), governments and individuals as they develop their internationalization strategies, policies and activities.

    Based on input from some 1,000 HEIs in 126 different countries, the IAU 5th Global Survey Report is the most geographically comprehensive collection and analysis of primary data on internationalization of higher education ever undertaken. It covers all aspects of internationalization from policy and activities to research, human resources and staff development, student mobility and the design of curricula.

    Assessing internationalization trends over time and comparing developments across regions, the 5th Global Survey provides unique insights into the internationalization process. It highlights its overall increased importance, which enhances international cooperation and capacity building and has a beneficial impact on the quality of teaching and learning. However, it also reveals its limitations and the main area of concerns, such as funding, commodification of higher education, language barriers, or the recognition of qualifications.

    The Executive Summary outlines the main highlights of the Survey report.

    The IAU 5th Global Survey is available free of charge to IAU Members in its online version.

    >> Not yet a Member? Join IAU now!
    >> Order a copy of the print version


    The IAU 5th Global Survey benefited from the support of UNESCO, Académie de recherche et d’enseignement supérieur (ARES), Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.


    The following articles are based on the preliminary results of the survey:

    A changing view of the benefits of HE internationalisation, Giorgio Marinoni, Eva Egron-Polak and Madeleine Green, University World News, 1 February 2019

    Is internationalisation creating inequality in higher education?, Giorgio Marinoni and Hans de Wit, University World News, 11 January 2019


    Since 2003, IAU has conducted regular Global Surveys, which have become an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the internationalization of higher education. They are used by researchers, as relevant data that stimulate further research and innovation in the field; by HEIs to benchmark themselves in the development of their internationalization processes at global and regional levels; and by policymakers to seek inspiration for policies affecting higher education.

    - 4th Global Survey (2014) - IAU 4th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education.
    Executive Summary
    - IAU 3rd Global Survey (2010) - Internationalization of Higher Education: Global Trends, Regional Perspectives
    Executive Summary
    - IAU 2nd Global Survey (2005) - Internationalization of Higher Education - New Directions, New Challenges.
    Highlights of findings
    - IAU 1st Global Survey (2003) - Internationalization of Higher Education: Practices and Priorities
    Highlights of findings


    IAU and Boston College collaborated on a research project about the role of English language instruction in higher education institutions(HEIs) around the world. IAU and the Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) co-supervised research undertaken by Xinyan (Sissi) Liu, a student in CIHE’s Master of Arts program in International Higher Education. This program requires that all students participate in a course titled “Field Experience in International Higher Education.” The course combines practical experience at higher education organizations, such as the IAU, with an in-depth research project.

    Sissi’s report explores the national policies and role of English language instruction at HEIs in Brazil, France, Malaysia, South Africa and Spain. This is a particularly timely topic at the time when English language has become dominant in many fields, including in highly cited research and scholarship more broadly.


    Policy Statements - Network of International Education Associations (NIEA) - IAU Working Group

    IAU has developed advocacy positions on internationalization of higher education:


    IAU acts as the coordinator of the Network of International Education Associations, NIEA. NIEA members are non-profit, non-government associations which main stated purpose is to advance international higher education. The Network advances the global learning of post-secondary education organizations through the exchange of information and dialogue, advocacy for international education, professional development, and discovery of new approaches to international education.
    NIEA members meet twice annually, alternating between EAIE and NAFSA conferences.
    Other than IAU as a coordinator, NIEA has a chair elected among its members, the chair for the year 2020 is Phil Honeywood, from the International Education Association of Australia IEAA.

    NIEA organised two Global Dialogues on Internationalization of higher education, the first Global Dialogue held in 2014 and hosted by International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA), led to the Nelson Mandela Bay declaration on the future of internationalization of higher education.

    In 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, NIEA members published a statement reaffirming the importance of international higher education and research, which calls government and higher education institutions around the world for supporting international collaboration as an essential means to finding solutions to global problems, which manifest differently in local contexts.

    This Working Group encompasses a small group of Administrative Board members. It provides advice to the Administrative Board and the Secretary General on the strategic direction. The Working Group develops recommendations on how to improve the visibility and response rate and dissemination of the IAU Global Survey. The Working Group also provides recommendations on how to operationalize the Call for Action: Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education. Finally, it assists in the promotion of the IAU Internationalization Strategies Advisory Service (ISAS (2.0)).


    • Andrew Deeks, President, University College Dublin, Ireland


    IAU Secretariat Staff:

    Giorgio Marinoni


    UNICA-IAU Master Class on Internationalization

    IAU is pleased to have launched its first joint master class together with the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) on internationalization of Higher Education. The master class targets Vice-Presidents /Vice-Rectors for internationalization as well as academic leaders involved in internationalization policies/strategies. Combining keynote presentations with interactive group sessions, the master class will give participants a set of practical tools and techniques in order to effectively plan, monitor and evaluate internationalization activities as well as analyse local and global trends in international higher education.

    What does it mean to be a Vice-Rector for Internationalization in today’s moving world?
    7-10 April 2019, Dubrovnik, Croatia


    The registration is now closed. You can read about the outcomes of the first Master Class here.

    Giorgio Marinoni

  • Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD)

    Future well-being of humanity and the planet depends on successful resolution of the interconnected challenges of economic, social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Since 1993, IAU advocates for the key role higher education plays in achieving sustainable development. IAU’s actions in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide a framework for universities to develop inter-institutional collaboration in pursuit of sustainable development. The aim is to assist higher education leaders wishing to embed sustainable development concepts and principles in strategic planning, academic and organizational work.


    • Encourage peer-to-peer learning using IAU global network of higher education leaders
    • Monitor trends, develop and share expertise on the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Foster whole institution approaches at the leadership level to integrate sustainable development priorities
    • Provide leadership training, capacity building and networking services



    IAU represents the voice of its Members globally, develops guidelines for embedding sustainable development in higher education and research and provides analyzes of global and regional trends on institutional approaches to sustainable development.

    >> To learn more about IAU Policy Statements and the Global Surveys on HESD, go to RESOURCES.


    - The IAU HESD Cluster is a group of 16 IAU Members who, collaborate with IAU to enhance knowledge sharing and develop expertise, projects and recommendations on how higher education can reach the SDGs.
    >> To learn more about the IAU HESD Cluster, go to IAU GLOBAL CLUSTER ON HESD.

    - IAU is a key partner of the UNESCO GAP ESD, which ends 2019. IAU will continue to be involved in the follow-up programme ESD for 2030, which will be launched at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in June 2020. It also collaborates with other international and national entities and sits on several committees to advance cooperation in HESD.


    - The IAU Global Portal maps institutional initiatives and showcases best practices on sustainable development from around the world. It includes more than 800 higher education institutions.
    >> To learn more about the IAU Global portal on HESD, go to GLOBAL PORTAL

    - The SDG Publication Series is a biannual publication — each edition is dedicated to a particular SDG and highlights IAU Member initiatives.
    >> To learn more about the IAU SDG Publication Series, go to RESOURCES.

    The working group, composed of IAU Administrative Board members, provides advice on the strategic direction in HESD:

    - Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, Siam University, Thailand

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

    - Ranbir Singh, National Law University, India
    - Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabdi, President, University of Tehran, Iran
    - Mohammad Reza Pourmohammadi, Chancellor, The University of Tabriz, Iran
    - Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Vice Chancellor, International ‎Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Former Vice-Chancellor Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
    - Roberto Escalante Semerena, Secretary-General, UDUAL, Mexico
    - Remus Pricopie, Rector, National University of Political and Administrative Studies, Romania

    IAU Secretariat
    - Hilligje van't Land, Secretary General, International Association of Universities
    - Isabel Toman, Programme Officer, International Association of Universities


    To enhance international cooperation in HESD, IAU cooperates with various key partners and sits on several committees.
    Click on each partner to learn more about our cooperation:


    Copernicus Alliance

    TROP ICSU Project


    Green Gown Awards

    Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie

    Association of Commonwealth Universities

    National Union of Students


    Launched in 2018, the IAU Cluster on HESD promotes the role of higher education institutions in building more sustainable societies. It is a consortium of IAU Member universities from all parts of the world, working in collaboration to develop existing and new exciting initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations Member States in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    The Cluster encourages a holistic approach to the SDGs, promoting the whole institution approach, where institutions aim to embed sustainable development in their strategic planning, academic and organizational work.


    Each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is assigned an institutional team leader, joined by a group of up to 8 Satellite Universities. IAU is responsible for leading the work on SDG 17 - Partnerships for the goals.
    IAU and the 16 lead institutions, together with their satellite universities are acting as the voice for higher education at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum. Through this international cooperation, the project has the most global outreach than any other projects in the field.


    Discover the Members of the IAU Global Cluster on HESD ! Click on each SDG to learn more about the lead institution and its initiatives :

    If you wish to get involved in the activities of the IAU Global Cluster on Higher Education and Sustainable Development, please contact Isabel Toman, IAU Programme Officer for HESD. Please indicate your institution’s name, your contact details and do not hesitate to provide information on the existing and/or future initiatives towards sustainable development at your institution!



    IAU developed a dedicated portal on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development:

    This global portal presents IAU’s strategy to support sustainable development in higher education, reports on all IAU activities in the the field, provides useful resources about sustainable development in higher education and maps more than 800 inspiring initiatives implemented by higher education institutions and organizations to reach the SDGs.|

    The Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) global portal is a tool developed by the International Association of Universities; it provides access to actions and initiatives developed around the world to promote sustainability. It showcases best practises of universities and higher education institutions worldwide. Actions include student initiatives, Living Labs, Green Campuses, faculties engaged in sustainable development, and leadership initiatives.

    The portal is searchable by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), type of initiative, and area of work. It currently includes 800+ HEIs in over 100 countries and more than 800 actions worldwide.

    If you wish to add your higher education institution, action, or news to the portal, please contact Isabel Toman.


    IAU @HLPF 2020

    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 2020 was held virtually and was dedicated to “ Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development ”.

    As the most global university association contributing to Sustainable Development and having the Consultative Status (the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organizations) with the Economic and Social Council, IAU took an active part in the debates again this year and co-organized a series of virtual events, together with partners and Members.

    Thank you to all who joined the events and engaged in the conversation about how Higher Education is key for achieving the SDGs !

    Click on the links below to learn more about each event!

    - IAU Report on IAU Global Cluster on HESD (2019-2020)


    >> 7 July 2020 | 14:00 - 15:30 EDT (20:00 - 21:30 CEST): ‘Developing transformational partnerships to catalyze SDGs implementation’
    A workshop co-organized by UNODC. IAU Secretary General, Dr Hilligje van’t Land, was part of the panel and shared her experience on multi-stakeholder partnerships with higher education.


    >> 8 July 2020 | 8 - 10 a.m. EDT (14:00 - 16:00 CEST): HESI (Higher Education Sustainability Initiative) Virtual event.
    IAU is part of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and co-organized this event. IAU Secretary General, Dr Hilligje van’t Land, moderated the main panel discussion with the participation of Stefania Giannini, UNESCO, and representatives from Academia and UN bodies.


    >> 8 July 2020 | 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. EDT (16:15 - 17:15 CEST): International Green Gown Awards (IGGA) Virtual Ceremony.
    IAU is partner of the IGGA. IAU sat on the judging panel, and IAU Secretary General, Dr Hilligje van’t Land, presented the winner for ‘Sustainability Institution of the year’ at the ceremony.


    >> 9-10 July 2020 | over 100 universities from about 65 countries gathered to explore how academia as a sector can support the Decade of Action on the SDGs, particularly in the new era of COVID-19. Hilligje van’t Land, IAU Secretary General and Joanna Newman (ACU) were part of the discussion panel on 9 July.
    Learn more about this meeting here.

    >> 13 July 2020 | 9 - 10:30 a.m. EDT (15 - 16:30 CEST): ‘Teaching, Learning and Integrating the SDGs at universities and beyond - Linking to the Decade of Action
    IAU co-organized this workshop with ACU/AUF, ICAE and the SDG Academy. IAU partners and representatives from IAU Members were on the panel. The discussion was moderated by the session partners, including IAU Secretary General.
    Read the programme here


    >> 14 July 2020 | 8 – 8:50 a.m. EDT (14 - 14:50 CEST): SDG Acceleration Actions Portal, Presentation of the new website to register SDG-related actions by UN DESA/USG.
    Organized by UN DESA , this event aimed to showcase and galvanize ambitious new SDG Acceleration Actions by governments and other actors to contribute to the Decade of Action and Delivery in the context of post COVID-19 realities.


    >> 15 July 2020 | 8 - 10 a.m. EDT (14 - 16:00 CEST): HESI Event #2: So what? How will we Redesign the Future of Further and higher Education
    This HESI Roundtable built on the discussions of the HESI Annual Event at the HLPF reflecting on how the Higher Education can come together to redesign the future of further and higher education.



    IAU @HLPF 2019

    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 was 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 took an active part in the debates and organized a series of events, together with a delegation of IAU Member Universities.

    Learn about IAU’s contribution to the HLPF and click on the events to read more about each session !

    The IAU Members delegation:

    - Open University of Catalonia
    - University of Bologna (Italy)
    - Gothenburg University (Sweden)
    - University of Tsukuba (Japan)
    - Siam University (Thailand)
    - University of the West Indies
    - University of Bergen (Norway)
    - University of Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
    - Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico)
    - Kedge Business School (France)


    July 10, 2019
    10am – 1pm

    Workshop: Inspire. Change. Together.

    Innovative approaches and partnerships to strengthen
    the role of educators & academia to implement the SDGs

    >> More information here

    Click here to see watch the session live


    Co-organized with
    -  Association of Commonwealth Universites (ACU)
    -  Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)
    -  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime / Education for Justice initiative
    -  International Council for Adult Education (ICAE)
    -  University of Rey Juan Carlos
    -  University Carlos III de Madrid

    -  University of Tsukuba, Japan
    -  University of the West Indies
    -  University of Bergen, Norway
    -  Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

    Conference Room 5, UN Headquarters

    July 10, 2019
    3pm – 6pm

    HESI Special Event:

    Green Jobs – Green Minds Higher Education for the Future


    organized by HESI

    -  University of Costa Rica
    -  UDUAL
    -  CONARE

    Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN HQ

    July 10, 2019

    International Green Gown Awards Ceremony


    -  Siam University, Thailand
    -  IAU

    Institute of International Education, 12th Floor

    July 10, 2019
    6:30pm – 8:30 pm

    Education for democracy – a cornerstone for sustainable societies:

    What did we learn from the Global Education Meeting 2018?


    organized by the Council of Europe and European commission

    -  Hilligje van’t Land, IAU Secretary General (Moderator)
    -  UNESCO
    -  Council of Europe
    -  European Commission
    -  Country representatives

    One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza (Belgian Delegation)

    July 11, 2019
    9am – 11am

    ‘Scholarships for access, equity and global development’


    organized by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

    Institute of International Education

    July 11, 2019
    6.30pm – 8pm

    Mind Matters More Than Money

    Boosting Cognitive Competences for Sustainable
    Development through Science and Education


    organized by the University of the West Indies, Jamaica

    Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations

    July 12, 2019
    1pm – 2:30pm

    Research and Innovation 4 Climate Action


    organized by the University of the West Indies, Jamaica

    Room S-1520, UN Headquarters


    IAU provides research and monitors trends in order to help higher education institutions worldwide implement HESD.


    >>> Mapping HESD worldwide – IAU HESD Global Portal
    The IAU HESD portal is a tool accessible to all, spotlighting IAU Members’ and Partners’ contributions to the sustainable development goals. The aim is to generate synergies and networking around the world in favour of sustainable development. The portal features more than 700 initiatives and counts some 1000 monthly visitors.

    >>> Researching HESD trends

    IAU HESD global survey 2019
    IAU HESD global survey 2016

    In 2016, the IAU launched its first global survey on the role of higher education in fostering sustainable development. The aim was to analyse IAU Members’ approaches to sustainable development. 120 institutions from all continents took part in the survey.
    After launching its first survey in 2016, the IAU launched its second global survey on the role of higher education in fostering sustainable development in 2019. Next to analysing IAU Members’ approaches to sustainable development, it focused on the knowledge and implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030. The 2019 survey counted 536 valid responses from 428 universities in 101 distinct countries, compared to 120 institutions in the 2016 survey.

    >>> Publications
    - Higher Education and SDG 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls, 2021
    - Higher Education & SDG 13 : Climate Action Through University Teaching, Research and Community Engagement, 2019
    - Higher Education Paving the Way to Sustainable Development: A Global perspective, 2017
    - The Role of Higher Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 18 experts worldwide shared their views in IAU Horizons, 2014
    - The Contribution of Higher Education to Sustainable Development, 26 experts worldwide shared their views in IAU Horizons, 2012

    IAU started a Series of Publication, one for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The first one on SDG 13 (Climate Action) was released in July 2019, followed by a publication on SDG 5 (Gender Equality) published on the occasion of International Women’s Day in March 2021. The publications contains actions and initiatives from 15 higher education institutions and universities around the world. Currently, IAU is working with the University of Bergen on a publication for SDG 14 (Life below water) and with UNODC/E4J in the context of a paper competition for young scholars related to SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Both are planned for release in summer/late 2021. Please contact Isabel Toman to find out more.


    >>> IAU Policy Statements on HESD

    >>> Letter from the President of the United Nations General Assembly (2017)
    H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, Former President of the United Nations General Assembly, reached out to the IAU to call on all leaders of higher education institutions to embrace the sustainable development goals. The Association disseminated the UN letter to all IAU Members and Partners worldwide.

    >>> Open Letter to COP21 Ministers and Governments (2015)
    On 1 December 2015, a global alliance of higher education sustainability networks, including the IAU, representing more than 3,000 universities and colleges worldwide, jointly issued an Open Letter urging Ministers and Governments to acknowledge and strengthen the research and education role that universities and colleges play in addressing climate change.

    >>> Rio+20 People’s Sustainability Treaty on Higher Education (2012)
    A partnership of over 30 agencies, organizations and associations, led by Copernicus Alliance and the IAU, developed the Higher Education People’s Sustainability Treaty to influence Rio + 20 dialogues.

    Isabel Toman

  • Digital transformation of Higher Education

    Technology has an important impact on all aspects of higher education worldwide. It brings new opportunities; yet, its use to improve higher education is uneven from region to region, from country to country, and from an institution to another within a country. Thus, while pursuing the important potential of technology to bridge divides in terms of access to knowledge and information, it is important to acknowledge that there is a high risk of exacerbating existing or creating new inequalities, as it requires means, infrastructure and human skills. IAU’s action in this area aims to fully harness the potential of technology as a means to improve the quality of higher education and to increase access to knowledge and education for all.

    Strategic goals for 2016-2020:

    The IAU strategic plan (2016-2021) outlines the following strategic objectives to guide the work of the Association in this area:

    • Advocate for equity and solidarity between and within higher education institutions in ICT matters;
    • Promote the design of inclusive ICT strategies in HEIs by encouraging and facilitating networking and cooperation between HEIs, international, and national bodies.


    The IAU activities in this field are organized around the following core functions:

    Global advocacy

    IAU placed technology as one of the four key priorities in its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The main priority for this period is to develop a policy statement, building on the previous statement: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Universities from 2004 and adapting it to the current context. An Expert Advisory Group (EAG) has been established to oversee the process. The EAG is composed of Board members and experts from different regions. It met in May 2018 to initiate the work.

    More information


    As a global Association with members in all regions of the world, the IAU has a unique position to monitor trends around the world in order to favour exchange of best practices. The Association has developed a survey to monitor the role of technology in higher education as a stocktaking exercise that will also serve to inform the revision of the statement Universities and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) from 2004.

    More information

    Catalyst for collaboration and exchange

    IAU has an important role to play as a catalyst for collaboration and exchange. In the field of technology and higher education, IAU seeks to pursue this mission through different activities.

    One of them being this blog that allows Members to share their experience in this field including perspectives from all regions of the world. Visit the blog

    IAU has also launched a new programme in 2019 which is the institutional site visits where higher education institutions that are very innovative or advanced in using technology in higher education in order to improve the quality or to widening access to higher education, invite IAU Members to attend a 2-day meeting to learn from their experiences.

    More information

    Working Group:

    The working group, composed of IAU Administrative Board members, provides advice to the Administrative Board and the Secretary General on the strategic direction in this field:

    - Remus Pricopie, Rector, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania

    - Marta Losada Falk, Former President, Antonio Nariño University, Colombia
    - Pierre-André Pierre, Rector, Université Notre-Dame d’Haiti, Haiti
    - Daniel Hernandez Ruiperez, Former Rector, University of Salamanca, Spain

    IAU Secretariat
    Trine Jensen, Manager, Events and Projects

    Interested in receiving tailored updates and initiatives on Technology and Higher Education?

    Subscribe to IAU’s dedicated list

    Trine Jensen


    IAU Policy Statement

    In the context of the rapid development of technology, which affects society and higher education, IAU is currently developing a new IAU policy statement in order to outline the key principles and values that must underpin the digital transformation.

    Expert Advisory Group

    In order to oversee the drafting process, IAU established an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) composed of experts from different regions of the world as well as representatives of the IAU Administrative Board.

    Consult the list of the members of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG).

    Hosted by the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), the IAU Expert Advisory Group met in Bucharest, Romania on 28-29 May 2018 in order to commence the work. The structure and fundamental principles were discussed during the meeting in order to start building the policy statement.
    It is the aim of IAU to have a large stakeholder consultation process in order to include the voice of most importantly the IAU Members, both also student representatives and the higher education community at large.

    Consultation process

    The first consultation process was a collection of information from IAU Members and higher education institutions around the world in order to take stock of the current state of the digital transformation in higher education and the related opportunities as well as challenges. The overall drafting and consultation process will take place over 2 years (2018-2020) and the final version of the IAU Policy Statement will be submitted to the General Conference for adoption. The AIU 16th General Conference will take place in Dublin, Ireland in 2021.

    ➨ September 2020 update: IAU is currently conducting an open consultation on the draft version of the policy statement. IAU Members are invited to take part in this final phase of the process.

    Interested in receiving tailored updates and initiatives on Technology and Higher Education?

    Subscribe to IAU’s dedicated list

    Trine Jensen



    As a global Association with members in all regions of the world, the IAU has a unique position to monitor trends around the world in order to favour exchange of best practices. The Association has developed a survey to monitor the role of technology in higher education as a stocktaking exercise that will inform the development of a new IAU Policy statement about the digital transformation in higher education.

    Collectively defining and shaping the digital transformation in higher education

    IAU is currently (2018-2020) in the process of developing a new policy statement in order to define the values, principles and ethics that must accompany the digital transformation in order to ensure that it contributes to the global common good. As part of the large consultation process for the development of the statement. IAU undertook an open consultation from 1 November 2018 to 1 April 2019 in order to take stock of the current state of digital transformation and to collect the views and opinions of the higher education community at large. The consultation was developed in collaboration with the Expert Advisory Committee (EAG) composed of Board members and experts from all regions of the world.

    ➨ September 2020 update: IAU is now finalizing the draft version of the policy statement and calls upon all its Members to take part in this final phase of the process.

    The results of the Open Consultation carried out by IAU from 1 November 2018 to 1 April 2019 are presented in a Report:

    "Higher Education in the Digital Era:
    The current state of transformation around the world"

    IAU is pleased to present this first stock-taking exercise in the field, and to contribute to discussing the current state of transformation, the risk of inequalities, the ethical implications and how to jointly leverage the potential of technological developments for a sustainable future.

    Discover the report !

    Interested in receiving tailored updates and initiatives on Technology and Higher Education?

    Subscribe to IAU’s dedicated list

    Trine Jensen


    In March 2019, IAU launched a new programme entitled ‘Institutional Site Visits’. The purpose of these visits is to create opportunities for exchange among Members while meeting at a university that is very advanced in using digital innovations to improve higher education to learn from experiences at the host university. The aim of the programme is capacity building through exchange of information and experiences. The aim of the site visit is that the participants acquire new insights as to how to use technology and get ideas about how to adapt and use the information in his/her context.

    The Institutional Site Visits are exclusively open to representatives of IAU Members (all categories)


    The next Institutional Site Visit is planned at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Considering the current circumstances due to COVID-19 worldwide, the dates of the site visit are to be confirmed.

    The main focus of this visit will be: "Social impact with innovation" which is the moto of AIT, which has a track record in ensuring that higher education contributes to sustainable societal development.

    The President of AIT, Dr. Eden Woon, will set the scene and present his visionary plan for AIT and this will serve as input for exchanges of experiences about the transformations of higher education today. Beyond the exchange among participants, the site visit at AIT will include visits to different parts of the institute among others:

    • Artificial Intelligence Center: The AI Center focuses on the advancement in technologies related to IoT, cloud computing and fog computing, to be able to support the analytics under development
    • Regional Ressource Centre for Asia & the Pacific: RRCAP bridges the gap between the scientific understanding of sustainable development processes and sound policies at national and regional levels. Our goal is to provide resources for policy setting towards sustainable development, acting as a science-policy interface by regional networking, processing and assessing information and knowledge for governments, local communities and other stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region.
    • Geoinformatics Center (GIC): Recognizing the emerging importance of spatial technologies and the potential future demand for skilled professionals, with financial support from UNEP/RRC-AP, GIC was found with an aim to create an environment that would help the need of the region in term of short-term training courses that are tailored to address potential applications in the regions. More than 1,000 have been trained from the region with the support of various national and international agencies.
    • Yunus Center (YCA) is a collaboration between Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Asian Institute of Technology. The first such centre established with an academic institution, YCA’s vision is to harness the power of social business to create a poverty-free world.

    The site visit will move beyond the walls of AIT and also include a visit to:

    • National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA): NSTDA is an autonomous government, affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, with the Minister serving as the chairman of NSTDA Governing Board. NSTDA serves to accelerate science, technology and innovation development in Thailand in order to respond to the need of the industry and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the global economy, and as a result, making a contribution to national economic and social development.
    • Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC) (tbc) was founded in 2015 by PTT Group, Thailand’s leader in energy and petrochemical industry as a private, postgraduate-level university situated in Wangchan Valley. VISTEC aspires to be a world-class frontier research university and foster passionate faculty and talented students.
    • Visit to Tech companies to discuss the industry-higher education collaboration and partnerships.

    Watch the clip to learn more about AIT here!

    Join this exciting site visit and learn from this unique institution how to leverage technology in higher education for a sustainable world!


    The first IAU Site Visit was hosted by Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) - the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) – which is the first fully online university worldwide. UOC welcomed 24 IAU Member representatives from 16 countries to Barcelona on 27-28 March in order to share their experience about online learning, the pedagogical and management model and its educational model based on personalization and accompanying students using e-learning.

    - When?: 27-28 March 2019
    - Where?: Barcelona, Spain
    - Watch a video from the Site Visit: click here
    - See the Agenda: click here

    If you believe that your institution is a leader in this field and you wish to promote your institution and share your experience, consider hosting a site visit. Contact IAU to learn more.

    Interested in receiving tailored updates and initiatives on Technology and Higher Education?

    Subscribe to IAU’s dedicated list

    Trine Jensen

  • Leadership

    Leadership is a core aspect of quality higher education, vital in enabling institutions to respond to complex challenges and rapid societal change. Higher education leadership must be underpinned by values and responsibility. Leadership must be adaptable and constantly evolving to ensure always more equity. It is essential that higher education institutions fully contribute to the development of sustainable & democratic societies.
    IAU aims at strengthening capacities of leaders and enhance cooperation among them. It also tends to reinforce leadership of universities to maximize their impact on communities.

    Overall objectives for 2016-2020:

    • Provide professional development
    • Monitor trends in leadership challenges
    • Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Learning


    LGEU Logo
    Launched in 2015, LEADING GLOBALLY ENGAGED UNIVERSITIES (LGEU) is a 5-day leadership development programme that has been running twice a year, hosted by a different IAU Member institution each time. It provides an opportunity for higher education leaders with an international outlook to engage in peer-to-peer learning in a distinctive, internationally-oriented leadership development programme. LGEU offers a real opportunity to gain new insights into higher education trends and practices in a wide range of countries as well as a chance to build new institutional connections.

    LGEU is an inclusive programme whose participants are drawn from various backgrounds, ranging from Heads of Institution, to Vice-Presidents, Deans, but also Academic Department Heads, Registrars and COO’s as well as senior professional service leaders. Each session is limited to 15-20 participants to ensure effective dialogue and a good group dynamic. The LGEU target audience always seeks gender balance and a broad geographic representation.

    The dates of the upcoming session will be announced in due course.


    - JUNE 2019 / LGEU-7: ISIT (Paris, France)

    - OCTOBER 2018 / LGEU-6: National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
    (Bucharest, Romania)

    - MAY 2018 / LGEU-5: McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada)

    - MAY 2017 / LGEU-4 University of Botswana, (Gaborone, Botswana)

    - DECEMBER 2016 / LGEU-3: Universidad EAFIT, (Medellin, Colombia)

    - APRIL 2016 / LGEU-2: University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)

    - NOVEMBER 2015 / LGEU-1: University Malaya (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

    LGEU outcome 1
    Get a greater appreciation of the key trends shaping Higher Education and institutions in various contexts and gain international perspectives on national/local challenges and opportunities

    LGEU outcome 2
    Master the mechanisms that help implement your institutional mission, inform the decision-making and provide structure for evaluating progress and taking corrective action

    LGEU outcome 3
    Gain a better knowledge of your preferred style of leading and learn more about theory and innovative practices of institutional leadership, management and governance

    LGEU outcome 4
    Improve your interpersonal management skills and explore the team leader’s responsibilities and expectations in enhancing the innovative potential of diverse teams

    LGEU outcome 5
    Create long-term partnerships, connect and share experiences with colleagues from all over the world and learn how they respond differently to common challenges




    IAU was commissioned by the World Bank to undertake a mapping of professional development training programme available around the world for higher education leaders at different levels of the institution. IAU has created an online directory. Based on the mapping findings, IAU has conducted a gap analysis.

    >>> Mapping of higher education leadership programs worldwide
    Depending on the national or regional context, the number of higher education institutions is growing, the nature of the institutions is diversifying, their role in society is continuously questioned and the demands placed on these institutions is expanding. It is thus not surprising that the leadership of such institutions becomes more complex and that the development of leadership capacity becomes a priority.
    In response to these complex realities, there is a growing number of training programs offered to strengthen higher education leadership. Yet, there is no single source of information about what is on offer, nor have there been many studies to look at the impact of such trainings. IAU, itself offering a leadership program since 2015, produced an initial mapping of programs. The aim is to identify and briefly describe programs on offer and discover gaps in terms of geographic coverage, type of program offered, who is being targeted, etc. IAU has issued an analytical report presenting the rationale, methodology and results of the study.

    >>> Online searchable directory of programs
    The list of all 78 identified programs is available in a directory in a format of a searchable excel file, which allows sorting the programs according to 6 topics as follows:
    - Target audience
    - Duration
    - Delivery mode
    - Location
    - Tuition fee
    - Credential

    Leadership Programmes Directory


    Inter-american Organization for Higher Education (OUI-IOHE)

    The Inter-american Organization for Higher Education (OUI-IOHE) is a reflective and action-oriented forum of over 350 members from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), research centers and national, regional, and international associations.

    OUI-IOHE is a common space composed of 28 countries divided into 9 regions: the Andean countries, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Mexico, the Southern Cone, and the United States.

    It is a network of 5 million decision-makers, leaders, professors, researchers and students in higher education across the Americas with 40 years of experience in internationalization, leadership and training.

  • EAIE

    European Association for International Education (EAIE)

    Founded in 1989, the EAIE is the European centre for expertise, networking and resources in the internationalisation of higher education.

    As a member-led organisation, EAIE provides a platform for learning, networking and knowledge exchange. EAIE’s activities are geared towards helping professionals succeed in their work. EAIE equips academic and non-academic professionals with best practices and workable solutions to internationalisation challenges and provide a platform for strategic exchange. EAIE partners with key stakeholder organisations and institutions to promote its membership interests and advance international higher education. In short, EAIE is dedicated to promoting and driving responsible international education in Europe and beyond.

  • CIN

    Red de Cooperación Internacional de las Universidades Nacionales (RedCIUN) del Consejo Interuniversitario Nacional (CIN)

    The National Interuniversity Board (CIN, by its Spanish acronym) created in 1985, is a non-state-controlled entity under public law mainly supported by the contributions of its members.

    The CIN is in charge of proposing and coordinating policies for the development of Argentine Universities and of promoting activities for the higher education system. In addition, it is a compulsory consultation body in case of major decisions for the university system.
    The Network of International Cooperation of the National Universities (RedCIUN, by its Spanish acronym) is the branch of CIN dedicated to foster International Cooperation of Argentinian Universities.


    NAFSA: Association of International Educators

    NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest non-profit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA’s 10 000 members are located at more than 3 500 institutions worldwide, in over 150 countries.

    NAFSA believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals, and builds leadership for the global community.


    Korean Association of Foreign Student Administrators (KAFSA) (Membership currently suspended)

    The Korean Association of Foreign Student Administrators (KAFSA) was founded in 1999 for leaders and staffers working for international education of domestic educational institutions of higher learning to encourage the interchange of information thereof, and now, it is regarded as the one representing the international interchange of domestic universities.


    Japan Network for International Education (JAFSA)

    JAFSA is an association comprised of universities, individuals, and other entities including private firms as supporting members interested in facilitating the internationalization of education in Japan and around the world.

    JAFSA promotes and enhances excellence in international education in Japan and provides for a connection to the global community.

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