The University of Iceland recently joined the International Association of Universities (IAU), a leading association of higher education institutes worldwide. Over 650 universities in more than 130 countries are party to IAU, founded in 1950. Many of the University's partner universities are affiliated with IAU, especially universities in the Nordic Countries.
The aim of the association is to bring together institutions and organisations for reflection and action on common concerns and communication of knowledge. IAU creates a platform for its members to discuss and work on shared priorities concerning higher education. The association furthermore emphasises academic freedom, university autonomy, and social responsibility. Its work can be divided into four themes, leadership, internationalization, sustainable development and information technology. IAU publishes a variety of material and maintains an extensive database on universities that is accessible to member institutions.
The association operates under the auspices of the UNESCO-based worldwide association of higher education institutions. It is based in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Pam Fredman, Rector of the University of Gothenburg is President until 2020. Friðrika Harðadóttir, Director of the University of Iceland's International Office is the University's contact to IAU.