Open Consultation for a new Policy Statement on Higher Education in the Digital Era


Contribute to the development of a new Policy Statement!
Ms. Helen Bahtsavanopoulou-Kotsaki

Head International Relations Departement
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Paris, 15 September 2020


Dear Ms. Helen Bahtsavanopoulou-Kotsaki,

Digital transformation in higher education is one of the key strategic priorities of the International Association of Universities (IAU). The pandemic has accelerated in an unprecedented way this transformation and we find ourselves in an important moment in time, that requires careful reflections about how it will impact the future of higher education.

Over the past two years, IAU has been working with the IAU Expert Advisory Group (EAG) – composed of experts and IAU Board members from different parts of the world – to develop a Policy Statement to distil the values and principles that can find a universal breeding ground. It can be viewed as the ethical, responsible, yet aspiring backbone or compass that must underpin and guide the digital transformation of higher education and society.


This work has only gained further momentum considering the current context, where the pandemic has pushed the world to become a digital laboratory, yet with unequal opportunities.

It is therefore our great pleasure to share with you the draft statement and invite you to read it carefully and provide your feedback, comments and suggestions for improvement.

Download the draft statement (Word format)
Download the draft statement (pdf format)
Although the challenges differ around the world and there is no ‘one size fits all’, we believe that it is important for institutions around the world to come together and voice what is essential for the future of higher education in the digital era. New technologies carry the potential to contribute to societal development and to improve the human condition, yet they also generate serious questions about ethics, regulation and equality, and even more so in these highly challenging times.

We thank you in advance for your contribution to this new Policy Statement and hope that you are ready to support this normative statement by translating it into action as much as possible in your specific context. This will ultimately allow us to shape the digital transformation that we want.

The process for providing comments and suggestions is detailed in the cover page of the Policy Statement.

The Consultation is open until 1 November 2020. Thereafter the comments will be reviewed and integrated by the Expert Advisory Group in the final version which will be submitted for approval at the IAU 16th General Conference scheduled to take place from 26-29 October 2021 at University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland.

We look forward to your views and contributions and remain at your disposal should you need additional information. Please feel free to contact Trine Jensen, IAU Manager, Events & Projects relating to the Digital transformation of Higher Education, for any question you may have (

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Hilligje van’t Land
Secretary General

International Association of Universities (IAU)


UNESCO House, 1 Rue Miollis
75732 Paris Cedex 15, France

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