Participation in the IAU 2018 International Conference (November 14-15)

The International Association of Universities (IAU) 2018 International Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was attended by Kenji Kakuta, Deputy Secretary of the Japan Association of National Universities, along with 2 other staff members. The theme at this conference was “Higher education partnerships for societal impact”, and around 300 higher education officials from over 70 countries and regions attended.

IAU is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with a cooperative relationship in the program implementation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is an international consortium established in 1950 under UNESCO with the purpose of developing education across all the world’s regions and developing reciprocal, systematic cooperation of higher education institutions to enable this. IAU is the alliance between universities and other higher education institutions with the largest number of affiliate universities in the world, with 616 universities (including 24 Japanese universities) and 33 organizations (including 2 Japanese organizations) affiliated in over 130 countries (as of December 2016).

At this annual international conference, held every year except for the year of the general meeting, higher education officials from around the world meet up to discuss common issues, and so on. Since joining IAU in 2016, the Japan Association of National Universities has participated in this conference 3 consecutive times, sharing information with participants from other countries.This year, the conference commenced on November 14 with opening addresses by Pam Fredman, IAU President, and Abdul Rahim Hashim, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya.

After that, in 3 plenary sessions and 3 breakout sessions (1 session was divided into 4 sections) held over 2 days, there were lively exchange of opinions from a variety of viewpoints on higher education in regional contributions and the state of internationalization, and the initiatives of various countries in sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In the session of “Case studies: informing policy development” on the second day (November 15), Kenji Kakuta, Deputy Secretary of the Japan Association of National Universities, took the podium and gave a presentation titled “A Future vision of National Universities of Japan”. In the lecture, he explained the current state of Japanese higher education, as well as the future direction of national universities based on the contents of “A Future Vision of National Universities in Higher Education” compiled by the Japan Association of National Universities in January this year.

Finally, there was a summary in the conference closing and the conference ended successfully. It was also announced that the next international conference will be held in Puebla, Mexico in November 2019.

The Japan Association of National Universities will continue to cooperate with overseas university organizations and actively disseminate higher education information in Japan.



Conference venue


Opening address by Pam Fredman,IAU President


Speakers taking part in a discussion


Participant asking a question at the venue


Deputy Secretary of the Japan Association of National Universities, Mr Kakuta,
presenting in a session


Participants from around the world listening to the presentation