60th anniversary

In 2017, UNESCO-IHE, the Delft-based Institute for Water Education celebrates 60 years of solving water challenges worldwide. Starting in 1957, with its first course, UNESCO-IHE has pursued efforts to increase the capacity of developing countries to manage their water resources, increasing security from disaster and expanding access to clean water and sanitation, especially for the poor. Today, UNESCO-IHE is the largest graduate water education facility in the world with over 15,000 alumni from around 160 countries.

The Netherlands became renowned for its expertise in the field of hydraulic engineering solutions, after the devastating North Sea flood of 1953. At this time an ambitious flood defense system - the Delta Works - was conceived and deployed. In 1955 this led to several developing countries inquiring about the possibility of having their engineers trained in hydraulic engineering in The Netherlands, leading to the first 'International Course in Hydraulic Engineering', and inspiring the set up of the Institute (now known as UNESCO-IHE) in 1957. Since 1957, the Institute has provided graduate eduaction to more than 15.000 water professionals from over 160 countries, the vast majority from the developing world.

Read our full history here.

In 2017, the 60th anniversary celebrations will look back to the Institute's education of qualified professionals, research efforts and contribution to the building of individual and institutional capacity to respond effectively to water challenges. The year will also look ahead to the coming challenges and opportunities, including those embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG 6 (providing access to clean water and sanitation).

Decades of water education

One of the oldest courses at IHE was the International Course for Hydrologists, which started in 1966. Over its 50 year history, the Hydrology Course has become one of the renowned international graduate programmes. Since 1966, more than 1200 professionals from 90 countries have studied and graduated from the course. Today, the hydrology course is one of the specializations in the Master of Science programme in Water Science and Engineering

Coming up

24 April 2017 - Anniversary conference

UNESCO-IHE is organizing a 60th anniversary conference on 24 April. The theme of the conference is 'The impact of UNESCO-IHE in a changing landscape'. This conference will explore how the Institute must adapt to the changing geopolitical, economic and cultural global landscape to meet challenging future water issues. It will bring together donors, partners, staff, alumni, students and beneficiaries of the Institute for a lively and forward-thinking discussion about the role of UNESCO-IHE in a changing landscape. 

Read more about the conference here.

More 60th events throughout the year will be communicated soon.