About us

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is the world's first and oldest international university network, established in 1913.

A UK-registered charity, the ACU has over 500 member institutions in over 50 countries across the Commonwealth. We bring together many of the most prestigious and well-funded universities internationally with relatively new institutions in some of the world’s least developed countries. What binds us together is a common belief in the value of higher education to society, the conviction that this value is enhanced by international collaboration, and a passion for rigour and excellence in everything that we and our member universities do.

With three distinct but interconnected areas of work – member services, programmes, and scholarship administration – supported by robust infrastructure and governance arrangements, the ACU combines delivering value to its members with achieving impact on the world of higher education and wider society.

Our mission

To promote and support excellence in higher education for the benefit of individuals and societies throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

Our vision

Vibrant and exciting universities that use their transformational power to:

  • Create opportunities for individuals to fulfil their potential
  • Increase understanding through international partnerships – both inside and outside the higher education sector
  • Contribute to the cultural, economic, and social development of every nation

Our values

Quality: The ACU’s set of values help guide the organisation in its mission. Our values reflect our aspirations, who we are, and how we do things, and are brought alive in everything that we do.

Collaboration: We promote the sharing of good practice and capacity strengthening, and provide a platform for knowledge generation and exchange. We foster cooperation and partnerships within the sector and across cultures.

Innovation: We enable the exploration of ideas and willingness to think differently. We give staff the freedom to do their work and develop new ways to deliver our services.

Respect: We are committed to openness, fairness, integrity, and transparency in all our work and relationships. We share the values and aspirations that unite all the people and nations of the Commonwealth.

Inclusion: We are an inclusive organisation, working with and representing a diverse range of individuals, nations, and institutions. Inclusive thinking is part of our everyday working practice.

ACU Charter