Gilles Boulet

Founding President of the IOHE and Promulgator of International University Collaboration

The history of the IOHE could not have been written without recognizing the fundamental contribution of its founder, Gilles Boulet.

It was in the 1960s when Gilles Boulet began to reflect upon the teaching of Latin American civilizations. Later, in 1978, his interest transpired into a more concrete aspiration, i.e. when he was appointed President of the University of Quebec.

I had observed a lack of knowledge and a deplorable lack of collaborative linkages between universities in South and North America

he explained.

There existed great potential for exchange between the institutions that belonged to the same continent. What’s more, there were not any organizations that managed these institutions as a collective group”

he observed.

I therefore believed that the solution could lie in the creation of such an institution

A series of meetings confirmed Gilles Boulet’s vision. The speakers at the meetings expressed immense enthusiasm about creating an organism that would respond to these needs, namely the development of a convergence space among universities in the Americas.

With the support of university leaders, Gilles Boulet decided to take the first major steps in making this become a reality. In 1979, the organisation that would unite higher education institutions in the Americas was founded, i.e. thanks to the concerted efforts of representatives from universities in Latin America, North America and Canada. During the opening congress, which was held in 1980, Gilles Boulet uttered a statement that was repeated throughout his ten year mandate:

I desire to establish an Inter-American chain of universities, which transcends all physical boundaries and jointly works to improve and strengthen each of its linkages

Under the motivating leadership of its founding President, the IOHE has always geared its activities around the same theme- something which Gilles Boulet summarized with the following words:

The action of the organism rests upon the vision of the true role of the university, which is, in fact, a social role. There exists in each community, in each nation, and in each country, an indispensable engine for social improvement, and this engine is the university. Furthermore, the university functions as a service to the community, and owes, by virtue of this fact, its existence to the public. Thanks to its activities geared towards the higher education institutions, the IOHE contributes to leading its people towards political, social and economic freedom

Gilles Boulet held the position of President of the IOHE until October 1989. His commitment to the IOHE continued for many years after this, for example, by carrying out special projects for the organization. Although Gilles Boulet passed away in 1997, his vision continues to inspire the organization.

Presidents of the IOHE since 1980


Óscar Garrido, Universidad de Los Lagos, Chile

Allan Cahoon 2014-2015

Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads University, Canada

Bustamante Diez Y (2)


Yoloxóchilt Bustamante Diez, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico


Marcial Rubio, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru


Raul Arias Lovillo, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico


Luis Miguel Romero Fernández, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador


Gerson Luiz Joner da Silveira, Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina, Brazil


Víctor A. Arredondo, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico


Freddy Malpica Pérez, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela


Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico


Luis Garita Bonilla, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica


Lauro Ribas Zimmer, Universidade para o Desenvolvimento do Estado de Santa Catarina and Universidade Estácio de Sá, Brazil


Gilles Boulet (founding president), Université du Québec, Canada