International Association of Universities (IAU)

UNESCO House, 1 rue Miollis
75015 Paris, France

About

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. The IAU is an international NGO with official associate status with UNESCO, that recognizes the key role higher education plays in the overall process of achieving sustainable development. 

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 IAU Strategy 2030, adopted during the 16th IAU General Conference, in 2022, affirms 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:

  • Globally-engaged and Value-based Leadership;
  • Internationalization for Society and the Global Common Good;
  • Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development;
  • Digital Transformation of Higher Education.

Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD)

Future well-being of humanity and the planet depends on successful resolution of the interconnected challenges of economic, social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Since 1993, IAU advocates for the key role higher education plays in achieving sustainable development. IAU’s actions in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide a framework for universities to develop inter-institutional collaboration in pursuit of sustainable development. The aim is to assist higher education leaders wishing to embed sustainable development concepts and principles in strategic planning, academic and organizational work. 

Learn more about IAU HESD here and explore the HESD Vision & Action page here

Download the leaflet IAU for HESD

Contact for sustainable development activities 

Isabel Toman, Programme Officer
E-mail: contact@iau-hesd.net 

Actions towards sustainability for this organisation

News for this organisation

Spotlight #3 on pilot participants - IAU and SOS Responsible Futures Programme

Learn about the participants in this international pilot and their achievements so far in the journey of integrating ESD at the whole institution. Murdoch University and their "Murdoch Mettle" initiative engaging students is up next!

University College Cork – a spotlight on world-leading sustainability practice

University College Cork won Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2023 International Green Gown Awards – the 2024 Awards are open now.

International Green Gown Awards 2024: Apply now!

We are thrilled to announce that the International Green Gown Awards 2024 Awards are open. Join us in celebrating sustainability for the 10th anniversary of the IGGAs. With 8 categories to choose from, reward your sustainability journey and apply today! Don't miss the deadline on April 29, 2024.

Exploring Perception of Faculty Engagement in Sustainability: A Global Survey

If you are a professional responsible for integrating sustainability into your institution's curriculum, we invite you to share your invaluable insights and experiences by participating in our survey "Exploring Perception of Faculty Engagement in Sustainability"!

Exploring Perception of Faculty Engagement in Sustainability: A Global Survey

Take part in a global survey global survey on Exploring Perception of Faculty Engagement in Sustainability: An International Survey Identifying Levers of Action and Best Practices.

Spotlight #2 on pilot participants - IAU and SOS Responsible Futures Programme

Learn about the participants in this international pilot and their achievements so far in the journey of integrating ESD at the whole institution. This second spotlight looks at Queen's University, Canada

IAU-EWORA Webinar: Tackling the Leaky Pipeline in Academic Leadership

IAU and EWORA organised a discussion ahead of International Women's Day, on "Tackling the Leaky Pipeline in Academic Leadership". Watch the recording now!

Responsible Futures International - ongoing pilot with 7 institutions around the world

Find out how your institution can join the next cohort 2024-25 of the Responsible Futures International Programme !

Spotlight #1 on pilot participants - IAU and SOS Responsible Futures Programme

Learn about the participants in this international pilot and their achievements so far in the journey of integrating ESD at the whole institution. First up: Trinity College Dublin in Ireland!

Transforming Education Together: 2023 ESD-NET Global Meeting in Tokyo

The ESD-NET Global Meeting in Tokyo, which commenced on December 18, 2023, marked a successful gathering at the United Nations University with the presence of representatives from more than 80 countries. This year’s meeting focused on sharing the implementation and progress of the ESD-2030 national initiatives, trends, challenges and innovations within the framework of Agenda 2030 and discussing the action points for the next two years 2024-2025.

IAU, ACU & AUF sign a Memorandum of Understanding - 2020

During the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) 2020, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), and the International Association of Universities (IAU) have formalised their collaboration through a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Together, the three associations represent more than 2,000 higher education institutions across more than 140 countries – providing a strong base to advocate for higher education on a wide international scale.

IAU SDG 12 Cluster and IAU President Join Virtual Conference hosted by Moi University

From the 12th to 14th of August, 2020, the Virtual International Conference on Phytochemistry, Textile & Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development, hosted by Moi University, Kenya, took place.

IAU joined the 2017 International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals: Actors and Implementation

On September 18-19, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia hosted the International Conference on SDGs organized by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi). IAU Secretary General, Dr. Hilligje van't Land, was one of the speaker.

2017 Release of "Higher Education Paving the Way to Sustainable Development: A Global Perspective"

The IAU launched the report of its 2016 global survey on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD).

IAU joined the University Alliance for Sustainability Spring Campus 2017

From March 27-31 Freie Universität hosted the second Spring Campus event of the University Alliance for Sustainability on the topic “Societal Transformation to Sustainability: Universities as Pacesetters?”. IAU Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Hilligje van't Land, was one of the keynote speaker.

IAU 15th General Conference - Speakers’ presentations available online

From November 13 to 16, the IAU held its 15th General Conference in Bangkok which was hosted by a consortium of Thai universities.

IAU and COPERNICUS Alliance join forces to work on HESD

IAU and COPERNICUS Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD).

Rio Declaration 1992 and Rio+20 2012 renewed commitments from HE

The UN Conferences on Sustainable Development, in particular in 1992 and 2012, marked milestones for change and provided a platform for exchange, for all stakeholders. Higher Education strongly advocated for its role early on and mobilised the HE community to recognise the need for action and take the next steps. IAU and partners have been supporting these efforts in various ways.

IAU Engagement at COP21 (2015)

The collective voice of the world’s universities and colleges was heard at COP21 when a global alliance of tertiary and higher education sustainability networks, including the IAU, representing more than 3000 universities and colleges worldwide, jointly issued an Open Letter urging Ministers and Governments to acknowledge and strengthen the research and education role that universities and colleges play in addressing climate change. IAU also represented its members by taking part in a COP21 panel debate on “Climate change as part of the curriculum from kindergarten to university”.

2015 HESI Event before COP21: Higher Education for Climate Change Action

IAU is pleased to draw your attention to this Conference organised by HESI and supported by the IAU, which took place at UNESCO Headquarters.

IAU Horizons Volume 20, No.3, 2014 and Volume 21, No.1 on HESD (2014)

Launched at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in Nagoya the Vol.20, No.3 issue offers a series of 18 papers on why higher education plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow. Focusing on the theme of the IAU Global Meeting of Associations 6, the Vol.21, No.1 issue offers a variety of papers on why and how higher education fosters social innovation.

Post-Nagoya Summary

The UNESCO World Conference on Educations for Sustainable Development (WC-ESD) 2014 adopts The Aichi-Nagoya Declaration and the launches the Global Action Programme.

ESD after 2014: Launching the Global Action Programme

The Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) seeks to generate and scale-up ESD action. It is intended to make a substantial contribution to the post-2015 agenda. The overall goal of the GAP is to generate and scale up action in all levels and areas of education and learning to accelerate progress towards sustainable development.

World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development 2014 Called for Renewed Commitment by all Countries

To mark the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the beginning of the Post 2015 agenda activities, UNESCO and the Government of Japan held the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - Learning Today for a Sustainable Future. The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, closed on November 12, 2014 with a declaration calling for urgent action to mainstream ESD and include ESD in the post-2015 development agenda. The Aichi-Nagoya Declaration calls on all nations to implement the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) to move the ESD agenda forward.

IAU 14th General Conference focused on HESD

Under the theme "Higher Education and the Global Agenda”, the 2012 IAU GC devoted sessions to the promotion of SD by higher education

Interactive Session: How to find information on higher education and SDG actions using the IAU HESD Portal

Would you like to learn how to find actions from universities on sustainable development and SDGs? Interested in resources for teaching SDGs? Join the free 30 min interactive online session to learn more about the IAU HESD Portal and the IAU HESD work.

Social Impact and IAU HESD Cluster Members

IAU HESD Cluster leads Siam University, Thailand, and Beirut Arab University, Lebanon, recently presented their work with the SDGs and social impact during an online event.

International Women's Day 2021: IAU launches new Publication on SDG 5 Gender Equality

On the 8th of March, 2021, the IAU launched a free online publication prepared with the University of Bologna on University actions towards SDG 5: Gender Equality.

IAU-UOC Webinar: The Mental Health Crisis - Building Resilience in a Changing World

//Watch the recording & read the event summary// Addressing Mental Health issues of students and staff at universities and taking preventive measures through information and e-health tools were some of the examples described by experts during this webinar.

Joint paper on WIA - IAU HESD Cluster on SDG 4

Read the article on "A whole-institution approach towards sustainability: a crucial aspect of higher education’s individual and collective engagement with the SDGs and beyond" with contributions from the IAU HESD Cluster (2021)

Launch Announcement : IAU-SOS Responsible Futures International Pilot

The IAU is pleased to announce its partnership with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), for the international adaptation of the Responsible Futures programme, that SOS-UK already has been conducting with further and higher education institutions for almost 10 years in the UK.

IAU Partners with UWN on the SDGs Hub

The IAU and University World News have partnered to support the work of universities by providing them with adequate and constructive visibility though the UWN’s SDGs Hub.

Publication launched! Higher Education Engages with SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Discover the publication launched during the webinar on 23 November!

IAU Horizons on Leadership for a Sustainable Future

Discover the magazine with 34 diverse and innovative contributions in the 'In Focus' section on sustainability from IAU Members and Partners!

HIGHER EDUCATION AND SDG 14: Integrating Ocean Research for the Global Goals

Discover the publication with papers on SDG14 collected by the University of Bergen and IAU!

2022 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum

“Reclaiming our future through education on ethics and integrity” on 1st April , 11.30-1pm CEST .

HESI+10 Global Forum

Role of higher education in building back better from COVID-19 and advancing the 2030 Agenda

SOTG 2022 - Call for Participation of Youth Engagement Program

Sustainable on the Go Youth Engagement Program - deadline for applications extended to 3 June

UN Ocean Conference 2022

From 27th of June 27 to 1st of July, governments, academia and other stakeholders will get together for the UN Ocean Conference. IAU and UiB will advocate for Higher Education and SDG 14

The IAU Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD)

Outputs of the 2022 Meeting: The IAU HESD statement and the Strategy and Working Plan 2022-2024

Webinar: Exploring the nexus between health, equity, and gender

Organised by IAU and UOC (Open University of Catalonia) - Watch the recording now!

International Green Gown Awards 2022 - winners announced

Find out about the winning institutions and projects that made an impact for Sustainability in higher education!

IAU General Conference 2022 - UCD Dublin

Register now and join the discussion on Relevance and Value of Universities to Future Society

IAU at the HEInnovate – Embedding SDGs in HE practices

IAU was invited to speak at a webinar on how innovation can foster practices for the SDGs - article and recording available now

Join World Climate Day 8 December 2022

IAU joins World Climate Day on 8th December at 14h CET, organised by the Green office at the University of Liège (Belgium), in partnership with AUF

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