The present document completes and specifies the statutory provisions for the operational procedures of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) whose General Secretariat is located at 21 rue d’Assas, 75270 Paris, Cedex 06, France; it completes them but in no way replaces them. It is established according to Article 23 of the Statutes of the Federation, revised and approved in 2015. Since 1975, only Rules of Procedure for the General Assemblies had existed which were revised and approved for the last time in 1988. The same are included in the present By-laws.




IFCU comprises two categories of affiliates: Catholic universities or Catholic higher education institutions which are members or associates. The general criteria for admission are applicable to all requests for membership.

01.   To carry out quality academic and scientific work and to have sufficient material and logistical means to implement it;
02.   to have a Christian inspiration, not only individual but community-based;
03.   to reflect on human and scientific knowledge in the light of Christian faith;
04.   to be faithful to the Christian message as transmitted by the Church;
05.   to maintain an institutional commitment to the service of Christian thought and education;
06.   to be established in accordance with existing civil and ecclesiastical law;
07.   to award officially recognised degrees and diplomas;
08.   to be recommended by two member universities at least one of which is located in another country.





01. To have at least three university-level faculties or equivalent sections;

02. to have existed for five years as a university or higher education institution.




To present one or both of the following characteristics:


01.   to have fewer than three faculties or equivalent sections of university level;

02.   to have fewer than five years’ existence as a university or higher education institution.




01.    The general information form duly completed which can be found on IFCU’s Internet portal (;

02.    a letter from the Rector/President of the university or higher education institution sent to the President of IFCU requesting membership and expressing an institutional commitment to the service of Christian thought and education;

03.    two letters of recommendation from member universities at least one of which is located in another country; if there is no other member university in the country of origin, the two letters of recommendation must come from member universities in other countries;

04.    a copy of the founding documents and Statutes;

05.    a copy of the latest academic catalogue containing the following information: enrolment figures for the last three years (no minimum number of students is required; however, the calculation of membership dues is based on the number of students enrolled); an up-to-date list of the academic staff, their degrees and diplomas; a description of the library with statistics on its holdings; the previous year’s financial statement.




01.    Once the application has been received at the IFCU General Secretariat, a first administrative examination of the file is carried out by the Secretary general;

02.    the Secretary general must seek the opinions of the other members of the Board of Administration coming from the same continent as the candidate university;

03.    on the occasion of their twice-yearly meetings, the members of the Executive Board are invited to give their decision on the admission or refusal of a candidate;

04.    the Secretary general informs the Rector/President of the university or higher education institution by letter of the decision taken by the Executive Board;

05.    this decision is ratified by the members of the Board of Administration during their annual meeting.




The membership benefits from the following services:


01.   they receive a copy of the Statutes and the By-laws of the Federation;

02.   they are integrated into a world network of Catholic universities and therefore participate in its activities: contacts, exchanges and many different types of collaboration between the affiliates;

03.   they have access to IFCU’s Information and Communication Network (ICARIN), thus having at their disposal an Internet portal, a database on academic openings and projects of all kinds, as well as it different interactive tools such as discussion rooms, « blogs », a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and electronic seminars, all new technologies which serve the development and consolidation of university links;

04.   through the IFCU portal, institutions have every possibility of making themselves known, as space is reserved for presenting themselves; this also makes it possible to receive useful information on the other affiliates and on the network’s many activities: Regional Associations, Sectorial Groups, activities of the Centre for Coordination of Research; A News Forum is also available;

05.   they are invited to send delegates and have the right to vote at the General Assemblies;

06.   they are invited to participate in the activities of the Regional Associations and the Sectorial Groups, as well as in the research projects and other activities carried out by the Centre for Coordination of Research;

07.   they are represented or directly invited to activities and events of interest to the academic world carried out by the international organisations at which IFCU has consultative status, such as the United Nations system, particularly UNESCO (culture, education, science and technology, communication), and the Council of Europe. IFCU also collaborates closely with International Catholic Organisations, including the International Catholic Centre for Cooperation with UNESCO;

08.   they can call upon IFCU for all questions concerning relations between Catholic universities and the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See);

09.   they receive, free of charge, a certain number of documents published by IFCU, especially a electronic newsletter entitled Idem Aliter and a weekly electronic bulletin. These aim to offer regular and interactive communication between the Federation and its membership. They provide information on all the activities of the Federation and its partners. Members and associates are invited to use these electronic tools inform about the activities they undertake, or the events in which they wish to involve other persons and institutions (contact:;

10.   they also receive the Proceedings of the General Assemblies and the International Symposia organised by IFCU; the publications of the Centre for the Coordination of Research are available. When it is useful or possible, they are sent out to all the IFCU membership. A list of all the Federation’s publications is also available.




01.    The members and associates institutions undertake to pursue the mission and goals of the Federation and to comply with its Statutes;

02.    they communicate information concerning the life of the Federation to their faculties, departments and staff;

03.    they provide the Federation with all information that can help to consolidate the network of Catholic universities;

04.    they send the Federation’s General Secretariat a copy of their institutional Journal or all other academic material of interest to the life of the Federation;

05.    they reply to the consultations, circulars and surveys initiated by the IFCU General Secretariat;

06.    they make recommendations to the Board of Administration regarding the place, time and theme of the next General Assembly

07.    they pay the annual membership fees decided by the Board of Administration in accordance with the scales defined by the General Assembly.

08.    All membership fees paid are the permanent property of the Federation. 




Each affiliated institution can resign from the Federation with a prior notice of three months; a written declaration explaining the reasons for its resignation must be sent to the Board of Administration. Dues must be paid pro rata temporis until the time that the resignation is accepted by the Board.




The Board of Administration can suspend the rights of members and associates:


01.   if the membership criteria are no longer respected;

02.   if dues have not been paid for three consecutive years without a valid motive;

03.   the suspension of the rights of members and associates must be ratified by the General Assembly;

04.   any request for readmission to the Federation on the part of a former affiliate is the responsibility of the Board of Administration, which decides whether or not a new membership file should be presented.









Members and associates are represented at the General Assembly by an official delegation.

International or national organisations and academic or research bodies can be invited by the Board of Administration to send observers to the General Assembly.




As laid down in Article 13 of the Statutes, the General Assembly meets every three years, following notification by the President. By decision of the Assembly itself, the meeting can be advanced or postponed.

In special circumstances, it can meet in extraordinary session convened by decision of the Board with a majority of two thirds of the votes of the members or associates present, or upon the written and motivated request of at least two thirds of the membership of the Federation. The membership must be notified thirty days before the opening of an extraordinary session.



The quorum of the ordinary General Assembly is composed of half plus one of the members and associates present or represented. The quorum of the extraordinary General Assembly is composed of two thirds of the membership present or represented.




The Programme of the ordinary General Assembly comprises:


01.    an academic part: study days on one or several themes relating to the Federation’s objectives and aimed at joint reflection or even a joint com-mitment on the part of the Federation’s membership;

02.    an administrative part, as defined in Article 14 of the Statutes.


The Board of Administration appoints a Preparatory Committee for the Assembly whose function is to organise the academic part. Its members are appointed by the Board according to their competence in the field of reflection chosen by the General Assembly. This Committee works in close cooperation with the General Secretariat which is responsible for organising the Assembly. A Draft Programme must be submitted to the Board one year before the holding of the Assembly. The logistic part of the Assembly is the responsibility of the host institution, which works in conjunction with the Federation’s Secretary General.

Established in accordance with Article 14 of the Statutes, the agenda of the administrative session is prepared by the Board and sent out to the membership one month in advance of the meeting to give them time to make adequate preparations. Only members and associates may take part in the business session.

Any proposal to be submitted by the affiliates to the General Assembly must be brought to the attention of the Board at least two months before the opening of the Assembly. This latter is responsible for examining it and submitting it to the Assembly.

The programme of an extraordinary General Assembly is comprised of only an administrative session and an agenda on questions which provoked the convening of the Assembly. It cannot be modified during the session.




Members have two votes; associates one vote. To exercise their voting rights at the General Assembly, members and associates must have paid their annual dues in full during the financial years preceding the current Assembly, or have been allowed an extension of time, on serious grounds, granted by the Secretary General and ratified by the Board following the written request of the institution concerned.


These provisions also apply to written consultations undertaken outside the General Assembly. However, these consultations are valid only if at least the majority of the possible votes in the Federation are expressed.




The election of the officers in charge of the Federation’s different bodies is carried out by secret ballot. A simple majority is necessary. In other cases, a secret ballot can also required by the delegates participating in the General Assembly. This proposal becomes enforceable if it obtains one third of the votes.


Voting by proxy is permitted as long as only one delegate represents one single institution.  Only the Vice-chancellor/President of an institution is entitled to provide the Secretary General with a letter conferring voting power on a delegate.


Two thirds of the votes cast are required for amendments to the Statutes. This num-ber of votes must be equal to at least half of all the possible votes in the Federation.


If need be, the General Assembly and the Board of Administration can make deci-sions by correspondence. The membership must be given a one-month deadline to formulate their answers which can be transmitted by fax or e-mail.




The Board of Administration appoints an Election Committee, comprising the Secretary General and four other persons, before the General Assembly takes place. It is responsible for examining the candidates in accordance with Articles 18 and 20 of the Statutes. It submits the official list of candidates properly proposed to the vote of the General Assembly. Its secretary is also responsible for writing a report on the elections which will be submitted to the Federation’s Secretary general.


The Board appoints three tellers, responsible for the legality of the elections.


The Board of Administration is composed of fourteen persons, proportionally broken down according to the geographical regions and activities of the Federation: Africa 1, North America 2 (United States 1, Canada 1), Latin America 2, Asia-Pacific 2 (India 1 and Southeast and East Asia 1), the Near East 1, Europe 2, Sectorial Groups 1, projects of the Centre for Coordination of Research 1, President 1, Secretary General 1:


01.    Board members are elected by members of their Regional Group which are themselves members or associates of IFCU, in the months preceding the General Assembly; their election is ratified by the General Assembly;

02.    the President and the three Vice-Presidents are directly elected by the General Assembly; the Secretary General is appointed by the Board of Administration on the proposal of the President;

03.    candidates for the post of President must submit their proposal three days before the ballot takes place; the vote for the President should come before the one for the three Vice-Presidents;

04.    if no candidate for the post of President obtains the majority of votes cast during the first round, a second round will take place; if there are more than two candidates, the names of the two candidates with the most votes during the first round will be presented;

05.    each region selects from amongst its Board members the person whose candidature will be proposed to the vote of the Assembly as one of the three Vice-Presidents of the Federation; the three candidates with the most votes are elected;

06.    the members of the Board of Administration are eligible for re-election once.




01.      The President chairs the General Assembly and remains in function until the end of the Assembly;

02.      he can delegate the presidency of academic work sessions to the Vice-Presidents or to a person of his choice. He personally chairs the admi-nistrative session, except for the elections if he is a candidate. A Vice-President or the Secretary General can replace him;

03.      in the absence of the President, a Vice-President appointed by the Board replaces him with the same powers and the same responsibilities as the President;

04.      in case of a tied vote, the President has the deciding vote;

05.      during the administrative session, the President gives the floor to the delegates of affiliated institutions in the order in which they have requested to speak and he can, if need be, limit the speaking time;

06.      when a motion is being discussed during an administrative session, any delegate can propose a point of order; the President will immediately rule on its admissibility. It is impossible to appeal to the Assembly against the President’s decision;

07.      unless otherwise agreed by a special decision of the Assembly, the draft resolutions and amendments are presented in writing to the Secretary General the day before the administrative session;

08.      unless otherwise agreed by a special decision of the Assembly, no draft resolution is put to the vote if the text has not been distributed in writing before the session;

09.      to be taken into consideration, a proposal must be presented by a delegate of an affiliated institution and seconded by another delegate. The same is valid for amendments;

10.      unless otherwise agreed by a special decision of the Assembly, the same person should not speak more than twice on the same question.




01.    English, French and Spanish are the working languages of the General Assembly, the Board of Administration as well as the other official events of the Federation;

02.    the documents and reports of these meetings are edited in these three languages;

03.    simultaneous interpretation is offered in the Federation’s three languages at the plenary session of the General Assembly, in the academic and administrative sessions and during the session of the Board of Administration insofar as this is useful and possible;

04.    the delegates and observers will also be free to use any other language; they should however, make sure that their speeches will be interpreted in one of the three working languages.






01.   The members of the Board of Administration are elected in a personal capacity and hold office for three years; they therefore cannot be replaced by another person in the exercise of this function;

02.   they remain members of the Board even if their functions within the institution to which they belong come to an end;

03.   in the event that members of the Board are unable to fulfil their function, the President, according to Article 21 of the Statutes, may, for that occasion, invite a representative of a region, a sectorial or research group in a consultative capacity;

04.   they undertake to participate in the statutory meetings of the Board which take place once a year; two absences in succession without just motive lead to the loss of the status of Board member;

05.   the dates of these meetings are known several months in advance; the meetings last four to five days and are generally held in March or April in a venue chosen by the Board;

06.   the accommodation expenses of the Board’s members are covered by IFCU; each Board member covers his or her own travel expenses;

07.   in accordance with Article 23 of the Statutes, the tasks of the Board’s members are to ensure that the guidelines and directives of the General Assembly are respected and implemented; they can be invited to assume the specific responsibility for the follow-up on certain files, for example, regions, sectors, research, finance and fundraising;

08.   the candidates available for the function of Board member must be present during the General Assembly at which their election will be ratified.






01.     The Executive Board is composed of the President, the three Vice-Presidents and the Secretary-General; they are members of the Board of Administration and are subject to rules governing the latter;

02.     the Executive Board generally meets twice a year: in October and just before the meeting of the Board of Administration;

03.     it assures the efficient functioning and coordination of the different bodies and services of the Federation; it also supervises the smooth running of the Federation’s Permanent Secretariat and the quality of the services that it offers.






01.    The President chairs the Executive Board and the Board of Administration and is assisted by the members of both bodies in carrying out his functions, defined in Article 27 of the Statutes;

02.    he promotes a spirit of solidarity in all the Federation’s bodies, guarantees the authenticity of its Christian mission and is the spokesperson for its concerns before international organisations, ecclesial and civic;

03.    he carries out his functions in a collegial way with the members of the Executive Board and the Board of Administration and in accordance with the directives of the General Assembly, the Board of Administration, the Statutes and the By-laws of the Federation;

04.     if the office of President becomes vacant before the end of his term of office or if the President is unable to exercise his functions, the Board of Administration, following notification by the Executive Board, will appoint an interim President to complete the mandate;

05.     he can invite special participants in the meetings of the Federation deemed as appropriate collaborators.




06.     The Vice-Presidents, though belonging to a specific geographical region, are responsible for the life and activities of the whole Federation; they ensure the quality of the links between the Regional Associations, the Sectorial Groups, the Centre for Coordination of Research and the Board of Administration; they also assist the President in carrying out his functions;




07.     The Secretary General organises and coordinates the execution of priorities and guidelines defined by the General Assembly, the Board of Administration and the Executive Board;

08.     he is in charge of the Permanent Secretariat and the Centre for  Coordination of Research;

09.     he legally represents the Federation in all the activities attached to the Secretariat: Association Law of 1901, Ex Corde Ecclesiæ Foundation, donor agencies and other appropriate organisations;

10.     he reports back to the Board of Administration and the General Assembly on income and expenditures and proposes the budget;

11.     he assists the President in all his functions and assumes all the responsibilities assigned to him by the latter;

12.     the Secretary General is appointed for a three-year term of office and is eligible for re-election;

13.     if the office of Secretary General becomes vacant before the end of his term or if the Secretary general is unable to exercise his functions following notification by the President, the Board of Administration will appoint his re-placement.






01.     As presented in Article 3 of the Statutes, the Federation’s priority areas of cooperation are the Regional Associations, the Sectorial Groups and the programs/projects of the Centre for Coordination of Research; they are integrated in a strategy of networking among fields of interest, knowledge and competence;

02.     in respecting their specific natures and the rules that they assign themselves, these groups combine their knowledge and competence to establish dialogue between university rectors and administrators, researchers and teachers in the same disciplinary field or of different disciplines who are ready to enrich themselves through contact with others; students at advanced levels of study often participate in the work of these groups;

03.     whenever it is useful and possible, the General Secretariat provides short-term financial collaboration during the strategic and logistical establishment of these groups.





01.    These groups embody the Federation’s mission and work in harmony with its goals as proposed by the General Assembly and the Board of Administration;

02.    they must be officially recognised by the Federation’s Board of Administration;

03.    in order to guarantee the efficient circulation of information within the Federation, they inform the Permanent Secretariat of their activities or of any new initiative that could be of interest to the IFCU membership;

04.    they invite the Federation’s authorities to participate in their activities, particularly their General Assemblies or their annual meetings;

05.    they send a Triennial Report to the General Secretariat which is responsible for bringing it to the notice of the Board of Administration  and the General Assembly.






01.   The Headquarters of the General Secretariat houses the staff of the General Secretariat and the staff of the Centre for Coordination of Research;

02.   the General Secretariat is composed of the Secretary General and an Executive Secretary; he can be aided by a Deputy Secretary General;

03.   the Centre for Coordination of Research is composed of the Scientific Coordinator, the Project Manager and a Research Assistant; the Centre can also have a Director, under the responsibility of the Secretary General;

04.   an Information and Communication Officer and a Management Assistant divide their time equally between the General Secretariat and the Centre for Coordination of Research;

05.   the staff working at the General Secretariat collaborates with the Secretary General in the exercise of his functions and of the tasks laid down in Article 30 of the Statutes;

06.   the expenses of the Headquarters and of the logistical and material infrastructures are fairly shared between the General Secretariat and the Centre for Coordination of Research;

07.   the Federation, an international organisation, is governed in France by the Law of 1901 on Associations (Association Loi 1901) under the title: Centre de Recherche. Fédération Internationale des Universités Catholiques (Research Centre. International Federation of Catholic Universities). This legal status authorises it, amongst other things, to employ staff;

08.   the work contracts of the staff are governed by the French Labour Laws and regulations (Code du Travail);

09.   the Association has its own Board of Administration which ensures that its activities are in conformity with the requirements of French Law;

10.   the Association receives the necessary economic resources from the General Secretariat and the Centre for the Coordination of Research to cover staff and running costs;

11.   the Activity and Financial Reports are submitted annually for the approval of the Association’s Board of Administration;

12.   the Secretary General takes care of the articulation and conservation of all documents concerning the activities and the financial administration of the Federation and the Association.






01.   The Ex Corde Ecclesiæ Foundation was created by the decision of the Federation’s Board of Administration on 5 March, 1999; independent of the Federation, it has its own Statutes which structure its operating system and its administration;

02.   its sole aim is to promote the mission of IFCU, especially regarding education and research in developing countries;

03.   it is managed by a Board of Directors composed of five members. It comprises two representatives of the IFCU Board of Administration, namely its President and Secretary General who are ex officio members;

04.   it meets at least once a year, usually at the domicile of the Secretariat General;

05.   a Management Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors; this Committee, coordinated by the IFCU Secretary General, is composed of three to five members with a recognised competence in the field of financial affairs; it is responsible for the efficient management of the Foundation’s capital;

06.   the IFCU Board of Administration is kept informed of the Foundation’s activities and financial situation.






01.    The General Secretariat is financed by annual dues paid by the membership;

02.    the Centre for Coordination of Research must be self-financing; to make this possible, it is essential to seek financial aid from donor agencies; this is a significant part of the work of its staff;

03.    the Regional Associations and the Sectorial Groups raise their own funds.




01.     The creation and development of financial reserves are tasks which are the responsibility of the Board of Administration and the General Secretariat;

02.     the accounts of the Secretariat and those of the Centre for Coordination of Research are separate;

03.     the Secretary General is aided in the exercise of his functions by a management specialist;

04.     an accounting firm supervises overall financial management and prepares the annual balance sheets which are presented for approval to the Board of Administration and, every three years, to the General Assembly; an external auditing service certifies the accounts each year;

05.     the financial year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.







The present By-laws can be amended by a majority decision of the members of the Board of Administration.


The text of the By-laws was proposed and adopted at the Board meeting of March 2008 (Fairfield, Connecticut).


Text modified in Porto Rico, March 11-14, 2013

Text modified in Melbourne, July 13, 2015