International Association of Universities
The International Association of Universities (IAU), is a UNESCO-affiliated organization which was formally established in 1950 to encourage links between universities and colleges throughout the world.
IAU is a worldwide organization with Member Institutions in some 150 countries which cooperates with a vast network of international, regional and national bodies. Membership is open to all degree-conferring higher education institutions, and associate membership to other international and national organizations.
Its permanent Secretariat, the International Universities Bureau, is located at UNESCO, Paris, and provides a wide variety of services to Member Institutions and to the international higher education community at large.
As stated in its Founding Charter, IAU’s mission is based on the fundamental principles for which every university should stand, namely the right to pursue knowledge for its own sake, to follow wherever the search for truth may lead, the tolerance of divergent opinion and freedom from political interference.
The Association aims to give expression to the obligation of universities as social institutions to promote, through teaching and research, the principles of freedom and justice, of human dignity and solidarity, and contributes, through international cooperation, to the development of material and moral assistance for the strengthening of higher education generally.
The overall goals of IAU are both internal and external. First, IAU links up its members, offers them quality services and provides a forum for the universities of the world to work together. Second, the Association speaks on behalf of universities, and of higher education in general, and represents their concerns and interests in public debate and to outside partners. Both of these complementary goals are pursued through future oriented collective action, including information services, informed policy discussion, research and publications.
By encouraging members to work together, IAU
- facilitates the exchange of experience and learning;
- restates and defends the values that underlie and determine the proper functioning of universities;
- upholds and contributes to the development of a long-term vision of universities’ role and responsibilities in society;
- voices the concerns for higher education with regard to policies of international bodies such as UNESCO, the World Bank and others;
- contributes to a better understanding of current trends and developments through analysis, research and debate;
- provides comprehensive and authoritative information on higher education systems, institutions and qualifications worldwide;
- fosters university cooperation and academic exchange through linkages and networks.
As a cooperation and service-oriented organization, IAU aims to promote the exchange of information, experience and ideas, to facilitate academic mobility and international collaboration among universities, and to contribute, through research and meetings, to informed higher education policy debate.
Programmes and Services
- Conferences, round tables and seminars
- Comparative studies and higher education policy research
- Cooperation and clearing-house activities
- IAU/UNESCO Information Centre on Higher Education
- International information networks
- Consultancy, credential evaluation and advice
- International Handbook of Universities
- World List of Universities and other Institutions of Higher Education
- World Academic Database (CD-ROM)
- Higher Education Policy (Academic Quarterly Journal)
- Issues in Higher Education (Monograph Series)
- IAU Newsletter
- Occasional papers and reports
Institutional membership in IAU is open to university level, degree-conferring institutions whose main objective is higher education and research, irresponsive of whether or not they carry the name of university.
Associate membership may be extended to university organizations active on the national, regional or international level.
Membership is granted by decision of the IAU Administrative Board.
IAU Governing Bodies
The following organs shape IAU’s policy and give expression to its activities and programmes:
- The General Conference of Member Institutions meets every five years, determines IAU’s general policy and elects the President and the Administrative Board.
- The Administrative Board is made up of twenty outstanding university leaders and scholars from all parts of the world. The Board meets annually, ensures that decisions of the General Conference are implemented and guides the work of the International Universities Bureau. At present, the Board has four Committees and a number of special Task Forces. The permanent Committees are:
- the Policy Committee
- the Committee for Programme and Activities
- the Committee for Membership and Associative Life
- the Committee for Development and Finance
- The President of IAU is elected by the General Conference and chairs the Administrative Board.
The International Universities Bureau , with headquarters at UNESCO House in Paris, is the permanent Secretariat of the Association and its major instrument of programme implementation.
International Association of Universities
UNESCO House 1, rue Miollis 75732
PARIS Cedex 15 France
Telephone: +33 (1) 45 68 25 45
Telefax: +33 (1) 47 34 76 05