About the foundation

In 2019, six renowned Italian universities – University of Bologna, University of Florence, Politecnico di Milano, University of Naples Federico II, University of Padua and Sapienza University of Rome – with the crucial support of the Ministry of Universities and Research, joined together aiming at contributing to facilitate and strengthen the collaboration and the integration between Italian and African higher education institutions with a special attention to transnational education approaches.

The effort culminated in the establishment of the IHEA Foundation – Italian Higher Education with Africa.
IHEA Foundation calls for a reassessment of internationalisation as an asset of science diplomacy by fostering the collaborations between Italian and African universities, also by means of strengthening the presence of Italian universities abroad, with the ultimate aim of contributing, in line with the essence of academic cooperation, to local and autonomous development contributing to mitigate brain drain dynamics.
The IHEA Foundation was formally launched in October 2020, during the COVID-19 crisis, activating virtual training mobility programs to support African Universities in ensuring students’ careers during the lockdowns. The program involved more than 30 Universities from 13 African countries.
Inspired by the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals and the aspiration of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a specialising Master “Sustainable Management of Resources and Cultural Heritage for Local Development: Empowering Higher Education in Africa” was launched in the academic year 2021/2022 as a training programme to work with young lectures and researchers from Ethiopia.

In the short-term future, the IHEA Foundation aims at establishing, together with local African institutions, curricular programmes at different level to provide solid academic education for future professionals and experts who will face the societal and global challenges thus requiring multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies.


The IHEA Foundation was established to promote an innovative and collaborative approach to transnational higher education across the African continent, from the Mediterranean region to Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Foundation’s transnational education strategy foresees the launch of an Italian transnational campus abroad awarding first, second and third level degrees, and other advanced training courses to be delivered in African countries jointly with local African universities and their staff members.
Our aim is twofold: on the one hand, to offer high-quality education to students who seek to pursue a university education of a high technical and scientific level by acquiring an academic title recognised in Italy.
On the other hand, to support long term partnership across the educational systems across Italy and Africa by improving the expertise of the local academic scholars and staff thus creating opportunities for local carriers.

Board members

Governing Board: