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IAU’s vision is to be the facilitator and promoter of an internationalization for all, in which all the different voices of nations, people and cultures of the world are represented and heard equally; an internationalization which allows students to grow as global responsible citizens, which promotes collaboration in research to find answers to most pressing challenges at global level; an internationalization which allows the sharing of experiences to find solutions to local problems and benefits local communities; an internationalization for society and the global common good, an internationalization that incorporates a global outlook in HEIs .

Such an internationalization is a fundamental tool to build a global community of higher education and research which contributes to openness, collaboration, social justice and equity, mitigate global asymmetries through education, research and community/societal engagement.


To achieve this vision, the IAU will lead the global higher education community, including all stakeholders, towards this common understanding of internationalization, and will proactively engage its members in this endeavor.

Strategic objectives

To achieve this ultimate goal IAU has established three strategic objectives directed at different stakeholders:

  • Higher education institutions around the world have a clear understanding of internationalization and are aware of the latest trends and developments;
  • Higher education institutions around the world have the capacity to develop and implement a comprehensive internationalization strategy;
  • Governments, international governmental and nongovernmental organizations share the vision of internationalization for society and the global common good and support it.

Lines of action

In order to achieve these strategic objectives IAU will perform four main types of actions:

  • Think tank and Global hub: to provide fora in which the concept of an internationalization for all can be developed and to act as a focal point at global level for knowledge sharing and mutual learning in internationalization
  • Research: to provide a critical analysis of the current trends in internationalization
  • Advisory services: to provide support to HEIs in the implementation of an internationalization plan and action plan
  • Advocacy: to engage governments and international governmental and nongovernmental organizations, university leadership and university associations in the promotion and implementation of internationalization for society and the global common good


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 officially launched the 6th edition of the Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education: The Future of Internationalization of Higher Education in January 2023. The IAU accepted responses for the survey until June 2023. The survey report was published on 2 April 2024 via a live webinar. The webinar recording is available on the IAU Youtube page.

The IAU 6th Global Survey on the Internationalization of Higher Education received responses from 722 higher education institutions (HEIs) in 110 countries and territories. The resulting survey report analyses the findings in order to present both global and regional trends. Furthermore, the report compares current findings with data from the IAU’s previous Global Surveys on Internationalization in order to explore long-term changes occurring in the internationalization field. Discover first results of the survey here.

The Global Surveys are IAU flagship publications for our strategic priority on Internationalization. IAU has produced five Global Surveys to date (2003, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2019), and the reports of the surveys are of seminal importance in the internationalization of higher education. The survey has grown in breadth and detail over the years and are often cited by researchers and experts in the field, and higher education media.

Read the Report

Read the Executive Summary

- The IAU 6th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education is now available in French. Download a copy here or read the executive summary here.
- La 6ème Enquête mondiale de l’AIU sur l’internationalisation de l’enseignement supérieur est maintenant disponible en français. Téléchargez une copie ici ou lisez le résumé ici.
Additional Resources:
Facts in Figures: Graphic booklets presenting the findings of the survey are also periodically made available. Discover the parts 1 and 2 here.

For the latest edition of the survey, IAU draws on the expertise of an Advisory Committee.

Sponsors and partners

IAU extends our gratitude to the institutions below who are the Global Survey sponsorship partners:

and the following organizations partnering with IAU for the Global Survey:

6th Global Survey Timeline

IAU developed a first draft of the questionnaire for the 6th edition in June 2022 and identified a group of 14 universities from all regions of the world for the pilot phase that took place in October 2022. The survey was launched on 16 January 2023 and closed on 16 June 2023 collecting replies from 740 Higher Education Institutions from 110 countries and territories around the world. IAU aims to publish the 6th Global Survey report at the start of 2024.


The Global Surveys in numbers

The 2003 edition of the survey was completed by 176 IAU member HEIs from 66 different countries. 745 institutions in 115 countries completed the 2010 edition. The 2014 edition was completed by 1 336 institutions in 131 countries. The 2019 edition saw fewer institutions (907 in 126 countries) taking part; however, it has the best geographical distribution of all the surveys. IAU aims to continue to build on these successes in the future.

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.

- 5th Global Survey (2019) - IAU 5th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education.
Executive Summary
- Analysis of answers from francophone and francophile higher education institutions in French
- 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

Contact: Giorgio Marinoni

Future of Internationalization Partnership (FIP) Project

The Future of Internationalization Partnership (FIP) is a three-year project, begun in May 2021, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) that brings together The Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) at Boston College, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and the IAU.

Led by Project Director Dr. Elizabeth Buckner, an Assistant Professor in Higher Education at the University of Toronto, the FIP aims to deepen theoretical understanding of how internationalization is changing in response to global pressures.

The outcome of the first year of the project, the report "The Internationalization of Higher Education in the Wake of COVID-19: A Rigorous Review of the Literature on Short-Term Impacts" is now available.

During the second year, through mixed methods research, the project will design a new survey module to be included in the sixth edition of the IAU Global Survey on Internationalization, which addresses external pressures to internationalization.

The project will also conduct case studies of institutional innovations and engage scholars and practitioners to discuss effective, equitable, and sustainable forms of internationalization in higher education. One of the most important aspects of the project will be to translate research findings into profiles of good practice and resources for institutional leaders.

COST Action - European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice

Giorgio Marinoni, Manager HE and Int sits on the Management Committee of COST Action - European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice.

This Action responds to the pressing need for systematic interdisciplinary and international exchange of knowledge on theoretical frameworks, research methodologies, findings, and best practice examples, and for translating scientific findings into recommendations for international student mobility ISM practice.

The Action brings together established researchers, early-career investigators (ECIs) and PhD students from different scientific disciplines, countries, and research communities as well as stakeholders from international offices, international student and study abroad organizations, and different policy levels. The Action will offer comparative and practical insights into ISM dynamics by bringing fragmented knowledge together, with the main aim of generating new interdisciplinary and innovative empirical perspectives on the phenomenon and translating these into tangible recommendations for stakeholders.

Learn more about COST Action

2024 Conference of COST Action CA20115

‘European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice’ (ENIS)
13-15 May 2024
Tbilisi, Georgia

Learn more about the conference.

ENIS COST Action Tweeter TwitterENIS COST Action LinkedInLinkedin


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 have two annual meetings, one alternating between EAIE and NAFSA conferences and the other at a conference organized by a member in the Global South.

In addition to IAU acting as a coordinator, one NIEA chair is elected from NIEA members. The chair for 2022 is Esther Brimmer, CEO, NAFSA.



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.

Scope: The Working Group provides strategic advice and direction to the IAU. The WG suggests the overall direction IAU internationalization work should take while keeping in mind the synergies with the other IAU strategic priorities, specifically sustainable development and the digital transformation of higher education. Equally, its recommendations respect the overall vision, mission, values and strategic plan of IAU.


  • Inga Žalėnienė bio, Rector, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania


  • Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah bio, Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, Nigeria
  • Wondwosen Tamrat bio, President, St Mary’s University, Ethiopia
  • Sunungurai Dominica Chingarande bio, Vice-Chancellor, Women’s University in Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Miquel Nicolau-Vila bio, Former Rector, Universitat d’Andorra, Andorra
  • Shahin Bayramov bio, Former Rector, Mingachevir State University, Azerbaijan
  • David Julien bio, Secretary-General, Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE)
  • Fernando Leon-Garcia bio, President, CETYS University, Mexico

IAU Secretariat Staff:

Giorgio Marinoni



In collaboration with the UNESCO Chair "Internationalization of Higher Education and Global Citizenship" of the University of Guadalajara, the IAU is pleased to offer an online diploma in the Autumn of 2024 on the "Management of the Internationalization of Higher Education" specifically designed for the context of higher education institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean; Sub-Saharan Africa; and the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Countries.

Throughout the course, the following themes are centrally discussed:

- Strategies for the design, planning and management of a comprehensive internationalization process
- Strategies and management of student mobility
- Internationalization of the curriculum
- Internationalization of research
- Promotion and management of international cooperation
- Promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global citizenship

To learn more about the Online Diploma in Internationalization Management in Higher Education, please visit the project website here.

Project Website here

The first edition of this project ran from September 2023 to December 2023. Courses were conducted completely online and in English and Spanish.

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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