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

  • Job opportunities

    We are hiring!The International Association of Universities is currently hiring :

    - Manager, Communication and Media – M/F.

    The Manager, Communication and Media reports to the IAU Secretary-General/Executive Director and works in collaboration with all IAU staff Members.

    The successful candidate will develop, coordinate and implement IAU’s overall communication strategy to Members and further afield, to the world of higher education. This strategy aims to strengthen IAU’s image, visibility and attractiveness within higher education and beyond.

    >> See the complete job offer here.

    Please send your cover letter and CV to Ms. Angella NINO.

  • Contact

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

    Contact us

    You can leave a message using the contact form below.

  • Annual reports

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


    Annual Report 2019


    Annual Report 2018

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


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

  • Policy Statements

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

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

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

    IAU Policy Statements:

    - IAU Iquitos Statement on Education for Sustainable Development, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    -  Academic freedom, Institutional Autonomy and Social Responsibility , 1998

    - The Buenos Aires Statement on Higher Education Funding, 1994

    - Kyoto Declaration on Sustainable Development, 1993

  • Secretariat

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

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


    Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General bio contact

    Andreas Corcoran, Deputy Secretary General bio contact

    Saholi Andriambololo-Nivo, Assistant, Reference Publications bio contact

    Alice Goyau, Manager, Communication contact

    Samantha Grillo, Assistant, Reference Publications bio contact

    Jessica Huang, Administrative Assistant bio contact

    Trine Jensen, Manager, Events and Projects bio contact

    Isabel Toman, Programme Officer bio contact

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

    Angella Nino, Manager, Finances and Administration bio contact

    Nicholas Poulton, Information and Publication Officer bio contact

    Samuel Pousson, Assistant, Reference Publications bio contact

    Georgeta Sadlak, Manager, Information Systems bio contact

    Carine Sébast, Manager, Reference Publications bio contact

    Amanda Sudic, Librarian/Documentalist bio contact

    Lianne Guerra Rondon, Project Officer bio contact

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

  • Secretary General

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • President’s Message

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

    Welcome to the website of the International Association of Universities (IAU). I am confident that it will give you a good overview on what this global organisation, with a unique global mandate stands for, of its vision and mission and the values that it upholds. IAU offers a unique platform for knowledge seeking and sharing, knowledge development and transfer. The website presents the various priority areas of work of the Association and the specific activities we offer.

    IAU puts special emphasis on fostering the fundamental values of Academic Freedom and University Autonomy, Equitable access to higher education, appreciation for divergence of opinion and freedom from political interference, ethics and integrity at all levels within the institutions and in relation to all stakeholders in the wider community.

    IAU is the only truly global association of higher education institutions and organizations. With its historic connection with UNESCO, it strives to fully play its role and assume its responsibility to promote and advocate for higher education community to be considered as key actor in the development of sustainable and fair societies. Through trustful collaborative work with our Members, HEIs and organizations from all over the world, IAU represents HE to UNESCO, the OED, the Council of Europe and policy and decision makers on all five continents.

    The UN has now clearly recognised the key role of HE to society in the UN Agenda 2030, in particular to achieve SDG 4 – Quality Education. In addition, the IAU stresses the important role HE plays to reach each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Quality education is essential as it can provide the students the kind of competences, knowledge and academic skills, creativity, analytical and critical thinking, they need to take part in the development of a sustainable future and society for all and the development and implementation of innovative solutions for the future.

    At the same time, higher education in many parts of the world is being challenged by politicians and sometimes also by other stakeholders in society. The fundamental values of higher education, as described above, are questioned and restricted. The value of knowledge, facts and evidence based scientific research is challenged and even denied.

    It is therefore of utmost importance that HEIs and organizations collaborate at national, regional and global levels and build a truly global community able to voice the challenges HE faces and reaffirm the role it plays in society. IAU offers this global voice for higher education and is the Association you should be part of and support to make the difference together, everywhere. For IAU to become even more relevant and fulfil its role better, support, involvement and engagement from the many is needed. The IAU collective action allows to meet the needs of individual Member institutions and organizations.

    Today, IAU’s relevance and value is recognized and this translates in the invitations received to join networks, research projects, conferences, global initiatives and in the great participation of the higher education community in IAU activities. The leading role taken up by IAU on the increased role of higher education in the UN Agenda 2030 translated in innovative projects like the creation of the IAU Global Cluster on HESD and the participation in the UN High Level Political Forum in New York for instance. In 2020, IAU joins forces with several key HE organizations to further foster the role of HE all around the world to reach the global goals.

    The IAU 2019 International Conference, in Puebla, Mexico, was attended by some 250 Delegates from HE Institutions and organizations. The debates on “Transforming HE for the future” allowed to trigger respectful and open discussion among participants, including on the too many threats to HE and to highlight ideas on how to secure respect and trust for HE from society. The need for cooperation between HE institutions and organizations worldwide to meet challenges and promote HE was recognized as was the relevance of social responsibility of HE at local, regional and international levels. The outcome from this meeting will feed into the IAU 16th General conference to be hosted by UCD in Dublin from 26-29 October 2021.

    I am pleased to invite you to already plan to attend and take an active part in the upcoming IAU General conference. It will offer a unique opportunity to debate the “Value and Relevance of Universities to Future Society”. The General Conference is also the decision-making body of the IAU and will see the election of the IAU Administrative Board and new President for the next 4 years, 2021-2025. I will welcome nominations for candidates and much look forward to welcoming you to Ireland in 2021.

    Pam Fredman

  • Governance Structure

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



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


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

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

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


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

    Pam Fredman, Former Rector, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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




    Asia & Pacific



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

    Secretary General


    Asia & Pacific



    • Guillermo Soberon, President 1980-1985, Former Rector, National Autonomous University of Mexico
    • Blagovest Sendov, Acting President 1984, Former Rector, University of Sofia, Bulgaria
    • Justin Thorens, President 1985-1990, Former Rector, Université de Genève, Switzerland
    • Hans Van Ginkel, President 2000-2004, Former Rector, Utrecht University, Netherlands; Former Rector, United Nations University, Japan
    • Goolam Mohamedbhai, President 2004-2008, Former Secretary-General, Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana
    • Juan Ramón De La Fuente, President 2008-2012, Former Rector, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico


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

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

    - Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General

  • Vision & Mission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    IAU 4 strategic priorities:

    IAU fulfils its goals through:

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

    IAU continuously enhances its efficiency by:

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