The Global University Associations Forum (GUAF) is a platform for dialogue, cooperation and joint action. Established in 2021, it brings together leaders of university associations representing major world regions – Africa, the Americas, the Arab Region, Asia, and Europe.
The Forum was established as a platform to foster systematic exchange between its members, in order to mobilise the collective capacity of universities to tackle global challenges. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic further highlighted the pivotal role of research, knowledge and education in responding to common challenges. Beyond global health concerns, nascent crises in the political sphere, combined with major environmental, technological and demographic shifts, have prompted questions on the role of universities in shaping our future society.
Disruption to in-person exchange brought about by the pandemic further highlighted the need for global partners to connect and collaborate in a more sustainable and systematic fashion. As a space for open dialogue, the Forum seeks to strengthen existing links between its members, building upon long-standing exchange and cooperation initiatives in areas where the collective resources and influence of members can add value. Through joint action, the Forum aims to build political awareness of the university sector’s current and potential contributions and how these can drive positive change.
GUAF’s 2022/23 working priorities are:
GUAF was established with two distinct purposes: to serve as a platform for knowledge exchange among its member associations; and as a vehicle for action where the collective knowledge, capacity and outreach of its members can advance priority issues.
Forum members are typically represented by their president and/or secretary general. Regular meetings, in the form of an annual in-person meeting complemented by online meetings throughout the year, provide space for peer exchange and mutual learning among university association leaders and facilitate dialogue on pathways to jointly address common challenges.
The chair of the Forum rotates annually. Provision of secretarial support and responsibility for organisation of the annual in-person meeting is shared among members. As inaugural chair, EUA convened the first in-person meeting of Forum members on 17 May 2022, in Barcelona, to coincide with the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference.
The next in-person meeting will take place in Bangkok in September 2023. The meeting will be hosted by ASEAN University Network (AUN), the Forum chair for 2023, and will precede the fifth AUN Quality Assurance International Conference.