A world where a quality higher education is available to everyone.


We help universities and colleges in the least developed countries.

Academics Without Borders’ mission is to help people in the developing world realize their dreams through higher education because education is the key to a flourishing society and a sustainable world. Academics Without Borders’ projects are involved in the full range of university and college activities from expanding and improving existing institutions and programs to helping create new ones.

Principles & Focus

Capacity Building

We believe that the best way to support a country’s development is to contribute to the ability of its institutions to drive progressive change.

Higher Education

We believe that higher education is essential to a country able to offer its citizens a prosperous, healthy, just, and sustainable society. Our focus is on building quality and capacity in degree-granting institutions.

Support Where Needed Most

We believe that we can have the most impact by working in the poorest countries and regions in the world. Our work centres on countries that are low or medium in the UNDP Human Development Index.

Collaboration with Partners

We believe in supporting the needs of developing countries as they see them. We develop long-term relationships of mutual respect with our partners in the developing world; our partners propose and design our projects.

Sustainable Impact

We believe in having a long-term, sustainable impact. Our projects leave a lasting legacy of increased capacity and quality.


We believe that the best work comes from true, passionate volunteers who have a high level of expertise. Volunteers who contribute their skills and wisdom are essential to our projects.

Strategic Plan

The Origins of AWB

AA photo LM

I loved my time at universities and felt privileged to be part of institutions which make such important contributions to the well-being of the countries in which they are located.

Steven Davis, the founder of Academics Without Borders, spent his whole adult life in universities, first as a student and then as a faculty member at various universities.

In 2006, when he was about to retire, he decided that he wanted to stay connected to universities and to make what contributions he could to foster them. He thought that universities in developing countries might need assistance. So, he decided to look for an “Academics Without Borders,” under any name, which had as its mission helping improve universities in the developing world. He expected to find many, but much to his surprise found none.

He asked his friends, who were experts in development, about this. He was told that universities in the developing world have mostly been neglected for about the past 25 years. He wondered how the foundations and government aid agencies, which want to improve primary education and basic health care, could leave universities out of the equation. After all, they educate the teachers, health workers, and related administrators who make possible decent primary education and health services.

Consequently, he started Academics Without Borders with the hope that it could fill the gap left by the aid community.