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President’s Message

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

"Welcome to the IAU website. IAU is a global association for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and organizations; it promotes and advocates for Higher Education’s (HE) unique role in society to create, develop and disseminate knowledge and give way to a better world. IAU works in particular on four strategic priorities: leadership, internationalization, sustainable development (SD) and technology, and offers a platform for HE institutions and organizations to share experience and knowledge. It facilitates cooperation and helps build societal trust and respect for the HE sector. Special emphasis is put on safeguarding the values upon which to build sound education systems of value for the many.

Called into life in 1950 by UNESCO, IAU celebrates 70 years of international exchange and cooperation. It acts as the voice for HE to policy-makers, stakeholders and civil society. It fosters true recognition of the importance of research and education for societal development, peace, and democracy.

In particular, IAU has focused on and engaged in Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) for more than 25 years. It has carried out two global surveys on HESD; the Survey Reports allow to understand the development of increased research and education action and initiatives by HEIs and show the increased understanding of the importance of Agenda 2030 and HE engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To further strengthen cooperation among HEIs to address the goals set by Agenda 2030, IAU created the Global Cluster on HESD. It brings together lead universities to work on each of the goals. IAU is responsible for SDG-17. Today, the network consists of more than 80 universities from around the world. The members of the Cluster have taken an active part in the UN High Level Political Forum in 2019 and 2020. Thanks to IAU and key HE partners around the world, the United Nations better recognize HE’s important role in realizing Agenda 2030 and its 17 sustainable goals (SDGs). The IAU website and the IAU HESD Portal showcase the various uptake opportunities that are available.

To discuss the future of HE we need to address the challenges posed by the current Covid-19 pandemic and its short, medium and long-term consequences locally and globally. Consequences affect all SDGs and impact society as a whole. The effects of the pandemic on HE globally have been captured in the first IAU global survey Report on the impact of COVID19 on HE, published in June 2020. Two other surveys are planned. The lessons to be learned for future development are explored within all IAU priority areas of work.
IAU has pivoted most of its activities online. We currently offer a high-level Webinar Series on the Future of Higher Education; we monitor impacts around the world, have engaged in the UNESCO Global Coalition on Education, multiplied engagement opportunities online.

IAU is pleased to act as a global platform and voice for HEIs and organizations. The IAU legitimacy as a global platform and voice for HE is based on the Members’ representativity thus reinforcing the Association’s breadth - geographically, culturally, and institutionally. I look forward to exchanging with the IAU Members and to their continued support enhancing the value of IAU for the future of Higher Education. Your participation is essential. Together we can promote and advocate for the key role of HE teaching & learning, research and community engagement activities to develop the society we need and want.

I am pleased to serve the Association and will ensure its presidency until we next meet at UCD in Dublin in October 2021, on the occasion of the IAU 16th General Conference on Relevance and value of Universities to Future Society. Make sure you are part of the dynamic opportunities on offer and to contribute to the overall vision and mission of this unique organization."

Pam Fredman

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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