International Association of Universities (IAU)

UNESCO House, 1 rue Miollis
75015 Paris, France


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

News for this organisation

IAU HESD Activity Report 2022-23 - available now

Discover the recent actions from the network in the annual Cluster activity report!

Recording available - Webinar on Community and partnership-based approaches to capacity building in the water sector

The world is not on track to achieve SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, with significant challenges remaining in almost every country on earth. Addressing the alarming state of global water and sanitation was made even more urgent during the UN Water Conference in March 2023...

HLPF Session 9: "SDG 11: Progress, challenges, lessons learned and tools for sustainable transformation of cities"

Urbanisation is undoubtedly one of the major global trends of this century. How we govern, plan, and design our cities and urban communities impacts the realisation of human rights for all and how the growing urban inequalities are addressed.

ANGEL Conference 2023

Conceived as a major, internationally focused gathering, the ANGEL Conference 2023 aims to bring together interested parties from all backgrounds for two exciting days of sessions showcasing and discussing research, projects, and new developments connected to Global Education and Learning or Global Citizenship Education, and other related fields
such as Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainable Development, Education for Peace, and Intercultural Education.

The #ARC9 Report on “Asia-Europe Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs" and the recording of the launch are now available online!

The 9th edition of ARC (ARC9) explores and maps both higher education policies and higher education institution practices across Asia and Europe that contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).