IAU – International Association of Universities

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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.

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

Association or other Organisation


Officially based in:

Contact Details

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