It was at the initiative of the Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore (Milan, Italy) and of the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (Nijmegen, Netherlands) that preliminary steps were taken in 1924 to bring together the Catholic universities in a Federation to discuss specific issues of common concern. These endeavours were concretised the following year during a meeting at the Institut Catholique de Paris where 14 universities from the various parts of the world were represented at a first General Assembly.
It was only after the Second World War that the Fœderatio Universitatum Catholicarum took off. It was recognised by a Decree of the Holy See in 1948 and by Pope Pius XII in 1949. It became the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) in 1965. IFCU collaborates actively with the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The role of the Federation is :
The actions of the Federation are divided into four main lines:
In addition to these, there is international representation in various bodies such as UNESCO, ECOSOC, the Council of Europe, among others, where IFCU has the voice of Catholic universities.
At present, the Federation is made up of more than 226 Catholic universities and higher education institutions. This diversity is most positive. It is fundamental and remains indispensable. At IFCU, we seek to defend it in the very spirit of what we are: a federation. Each member must feel at home with others. A common house, composed of all the materials of the world, this is what IFCU is.
Of all the materials of the world: with us, there are also non-Christians, and even non-believers who are involved in common research projects, partnerships and exchanges. In the concert of voices that cry out for knowledge and justice, for a universal science and conscience, the International Federation of Catholic Universities holds its own with a tone that is specific to it. It is this concert of voices we would like to make you discover or re-discover.
Any Catholic university or university level institution that is legally constituted and shows an institutional commitment in the service of Christian thought and education can become a member or an associate member of the International Federation of Catholic Universities.
The candidacy form, which contains extracts of the Statutes concerning becoming a member of IFCU, a form to present one’s candidacy, a note on the services offered by the Federation to its members and a table of fees, is available for free download here:
The Federation has a permanent secretariat that is responsible for implementing the orientations and policies defined by the General Assembly and the governing bodies. In addition to the administrative and management tasks of IFCU, the Secretariat also carries out events, coordination and information tasks for all its adherents and partner organisations and institutions. The Secretariat has a permanent staff of various nationalities for its different activities: administrative secretariat, promotion and coordination of inter-university research, information and communication, and financial management.