The World Anthropological Union (WAU), formerly known as the International Union of Anthropology (IUAES), is a world organization of social and biological anthropological scientists and institutions working in the fields of anthropology and ethnology. It is also of interest to archaeologists and linguistics specialists, among others. Its aim is to enhance exchange and communication among scholars of all regions of the world, in a collective effort to expand human knowledge. In this way it hopes to contribute to a better understanding of human society, and to a sustainable future based on harmony between nature and culture.
Through its International Congresses of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (ICAES), held every five years, it provides a world forum for the discussion and dissemination of research in these fields. It also holds Inter-Congresses, seminars and symposia, and encourages the participation of anthropologists in other international meetings and projects. Through its Commissions, the WAU stimulates the convergence of research interests among anthropologists, and the dissemination of research findings through publications.
The Union publishes a newsletter, three issues of which appear annually, and most of its research Commissions publish their own newsletters and also sponsor the publication of books and journals relating to their specialized fields. There are currently 23 Commissions.