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President’s Message

Pam Fredman
IAU President (2016-2020)
Former Vice-Rector of Gothenburg University

“I am very pleased to welcome you to the new website of the IAU! We have adopted new ways to present the IAU values and areas of expertise and work. Your comments and suggestions for further improvements are welcome. IAU being the only truly global association of universities and other higher education institutions and organizations, with its historic connections with UNESCO, strives to fully play its role and assume its responsibility to address the challenges universities and the societies they face serve. We need all of you to help IAU fulfil this important mission.

As IAU President, I am committed to the IAU vision and mission to support the higher education community as key actor in the development of sustainable and fair societies. More than 10 years as Vice-Chancellor of Gothenburg University have educated me into the challenges universities and their leaders face. In this context, I have personally benefited from IAU knowledge sharing and networking opportunities. Indeed, it offers a unique forum for university leaders to learn from each other globally and locally. It also provides a unique support to universities in taking full advantage of higher education internationalization processes and opportunities.

Through strong collaborative work, IAU makes a difference for its members, the wider higher education community and society at large. The IAU strategic plan 2016-2020 reflects those commitments.

The main areas of work of the IAU include the internationalization of higher education and the new directions required in the current political and economic contexts; higher education and research’s roles in addressing the sustainable development goals as identified in Agenda 2030; higher education strategic and globally engaged leadership development; strategic reflection on information and communication technologies. These are all areas for which IAU develops services and offers support.

Students are most important and their access to quality higher education and success is essential. They are the driving force for change and innovation in public and private sectors and in civil society; they are the future decision makers. Higher Education is tasked with the mandate to equip them with the academic, critical, and creative thinking skills and competences they will need to lead society in the right directions. IAU works with student associations in all parts of the world to debate on issues of primary importance.

IAU Membership is composed of Universities and higher education institutions from around the world on the one hand and university associations on the other and this is reflected in the international and highly representative IAU Administrative Board, which counts 21 higher education leaders from the five continents. At the secretariat, IAU’s work is carried out by an international professional staff. Through its broad membership base, its Board and its staff the Association has a lot to offer.

This website is a unique platform for knowledge seeking and sharing, knowledge development and transfer. It is to help foster the fundamental values of academic freedom and university autonomy, equitable access to higher education, appreciation for the differences of opinion and freedom from political interference, ethics and integrity at all levels within the institutions and in the relation to all stakeholders in the wider community.

I take this opportunity to thank Eva Egron Polak who retired from her position as secretary general of the IAU in September. Over the last 15 years she has changed the organization and put it on the future oriented track it is on now. She created the solid ethical and dynamic base that allows the association to develop further into the future. Together with the IAU Members, the Members of the IAU Board and of the staff, we thanked her in Ghana on the occasion of the IAU 2017 International Conference. We also thank her here for her invaluable contributions and for the way in which she has developed the Association into the strong association that it is today.

I am pleased to welcome Hilligje van’t Land, who took over as Secretary General on 1 September 2017. She has a long international experience in the field of higher education and from working at IAU. With her as the successor to Eva Egron, the members will see the association develop even further as a global actor for higher education and its role for a sustainable future of society."

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