IAUP President Highlights Key Initiatives at the 11th WWUPF in Zhengzhou

IAUP President Highlights Key Initiatives at the 11th WWUPF in Zhengzhou


The IAUP recently took part in the 11th World Women University Presidents Forum (WWUPF), held from May 24 to 29 in Zhengzhou, China. The forum, titled “Multicultural Backgrounds and Common Development: The Responsibility of Higher Education Leaders,” was jointly organized by the Organizing Committee of the World University Women Presidents Forum, Huanghe S&T University, and Communication University of China.

The opening ceremony featured remarks from Irina Bokova, Chairman of the Council of the UN University of Peace, Costa Rica and former Director-General of UNESCO,  Dr. Fernando León García, IAUP and CETYS University President, along with several other distinguished Chinese and international guests. Closing remarks included statements by Dr. Gulsun Saglamer, Former President of European Women Rectors Association (EWORA) and IAUP Executive Committee Member, as well as other representatives.

In his opening statement, Dr. León García extended gratitude to WWUPF President Liu Jinan for the invitation, praised the Forum for its convergence of higher education leaders at this historic gathering, and shared insights on recent IAUP initiatives.

He focused on two major IAUP projects: the soon-to-be-published “Global Perspectives of College & University Leaders in the Post Pandemic Era” and an ongoing collection of essays by women presidents in higher education.

The Global Perspectives report, which encompasses insights from 60 member institutions and interviews with 30 leaders across Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa, delves into the post-pandemic landscape of higher education.

Key findings emphasize the importance of faculty development, student mobility, international partnerships, and the integration of digital technologies in institutional success. In navigating these strategic changes, IAUP institutions also underscore the importance of sustainability, research impact, interdisciplinarity, and community well-being, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and adopting a student-centered approach to today’s challenges and advancements. 

President León García shared that as we look to the future, the report suggests that many are on a path defined by agility, foresight, and a deep-seated drive to enrich academic experiences while contributing meaningfully to the global community.

Additionally, Dr. León García discussed the IAUP Women’s Initiative, inspired by WWUPF and the European Women Rectors Association (EWORA), formerly led by Dr. Saglamer. The initiative, overseen by Dr. Devorah Lieberman, President Emerita of the University of La Verne,  seeks to expand on the leadership experiences of women in higher education. The essays reveal common themes among women leaders, such as the significance of mentorship, the challenges posed by gender perceptions, and the necessity of authenticity and resilience. These insights aim to contribute to the broader discourse on leadership in higher education, aligning with the goals of the WWUPF and promoting a global exchange of best practices and ideas.