Dr. Hilligje van’t Land

Dr. Hilligje van’t Land serves the global higher education community as Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU), the global association of the kind.

For the past two decades, she fosters the key role of higher education as a societal change agent. She co-supervised the overall programmatic activities of the IAU and the everyday work of the secretariat; engaged in developing the IAU Membership base and strengthening its strategy. She positioned the IAU as lead partner network in the UNESCO Global Action Program on ESD by promoting the role of higher education and research in addressing the goals set in the context of Agenda 2030 (HESD). She engaged the Association in strategic partnerships to advance HESD and represented IAU at international events to foster leadership engagement and advance action at all institutional levels. She strongly believes in the importance of international cooperation and intercultural understanding and developed projects to promote higher education’s actions in this field. She developed a project on innovative approaches to doctoral education with African universities and internationally. She represents IAU in various working groups and expert Committees including at the Council of Europe where she contributed to intercultural understanding initiatives and related publications, and the development of the European Framework for Competences for Democratic Culture; at UNESCO, contributing to the Futures of Education initiative; the UN supporting the Higher Education for Sustainability initiative (HESI).

She holds a PhD in comparative contemporary francophone literatures. She speaks six languages and produced a number of publications related to higher education.