University College Dublin to Host IAU 16th General Conference in 2020

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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University College Dublin will host the International Association of Universities’ 16th General Conference. President of UCD, Professor Andrew J Deeks has signed a memorandum of understanding with Professor Pam Fredman, Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and current President of IAU, to host the 16th IAU General Conference in Dublin at UCD in November 2020.

About this Event

Founded in 1950, the IAU is the leading global association of higher education institutions and university associations. Created under the auspices of UNESCO with the goal of encouraging cooperation among institutions of higher education worldwide, it has over 600 members from some 130 countries.

The IAU General Conference is the supreme decision-making body of the association, and is convened every four years to elect its president and 14-panel administrative board. In addition to electing the IAU’s leadership, the conference sets the organisation’s strategic goals and also includes a thematic programme devoted to a specific topic.

UCD Response

The theme for the 2020 conference will be ‘The Relevance and Value of Higher Education to Future Society’.

“We are facing an age of unprecedented opportunity and challenge,” said UCD President Deeks, following the signing of the memorandum with the IAU.

“In our rapidly changing and transforming society, universities have a vital role to play through our research, our education and the many ways in which we interact with the world around us. Our relevance and value is interlinked with our obligation to ensure that we contribute to society, and the IAU general conference gives us an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise amongst the broadest spectrum of universities.”

An Important Initiative

The event in 2020 will coincided with the IUA’s 70th anniversary and conference will feature elements highlighting the association’s achievements and history.

Hosting IAU General Conference is expected to offer UCD faculty and staff the opportunity to meet and engage with their international peers on a range of issues, collaborate on initiatives, and form new relationships.

Throughout the IAU network, member universities focus on promoting values-based leadership, offering leadership in inclusive, fair and ethical internationalisation of higher education, integrating sustainable development into their strategies and enhancing the role of technology in their systems.

About IAU 16th General Conference 2020

At this year’s IAU International Conference in Mexico, UCD President Professor Deeks addressed the creation of future higher education in a plenary presentation. He argued that universities have a vital role to play in imagining a sustainable global society, designing a pathway to achieve that society, and ensuring higher education equips our graduates to contribute to the attainment of this future and to be successful in this future.

The theme of the three-day event held at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla this year was ‘Transforming Higher Education for the Future’ and explored how higher education leaders and experts envisage higher education, not only in the future, but also for the future.

IAU’s annual conference brings members together to reflect and act on common concerns, with its General Conference being seen as a much larger event that sets the organisation course for the next four years. The IAU’s 16th General Conference will take place from 3rd to 6th November in 2020 at UCD.


Gemma Creagh

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