Established in 1913, the ACU champions higher education as a force for good and the role of universities in addressing global challenges and improving people’s lives. Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, granted the organisation a Royal Charter in 1963, becoming patron of the ACU in 1986.
Through Her Majesty’s continued patronage, the ACU has provided a forum for global universities to share information, knowledge and ideas, and make a critical contribution to sustainable development across the Commonwealth and beyond. To mark the ACU's centenary in 2013, Her Majesty hosted a reception in celebration of youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships (QECS) were named after Her Majesty in 2019, as a fitting tribute to her immense contribution as Head of the Commonwealth, and her longstanding dedication to education and youth. The scheme offers fully-funded Master’s scholarships in low and middle income Commonwealth countries, providing life-changing opportunities for young leaders with the energy and talent to drive positive change in their home countries and beyond. Her Majesty signed certificates for QECS alumni in 2021, in further recognition of the crucial role that the scheme plays in connecting people and nations across the Commonwealth.