Given the need for trained toponimists, particularly in the developing world, the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment (ULFE), in conjuction with the ICU/IGA Commission on Toponymy, has taken the initiative to establish a consortium of universities that will be able to respond to this challenge.

The International Consortium of Universities for Toponymic Education (ICUTE) was established by three universities in 2015, the University of the Free State, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Sapienza Universitā di Roma. It seeks to contribute to education in cartographic toponomy at university level in accordance with UNGENGN Resolutions IV/5 (June 2016):

IV/5       Education in cartographic toponomy

The Conference,
Noting that there exists a need for professional personnel with education in cartographic toponymy.
Noting further that very few universities and academies have cartographic toponymy as part of the curriculum,
Recommends that each country should aim at providing training in cartographic toponomy at the university or corresponding academic level

Since few universities still include toponymy in their curricula, the Consortium seeks to be a forum where existing expertise can be shared with a wider audience.

As a first step, ICUTE, in conjunction with the ETFB, managed to register a first accredited short learning programme: Geographical Names: Management and practice (GENA6702S), in 2016. The course is offered on a contact basis over 3 days and is worth 8 credits at BA Honors (fourth year) level at the University of the Free State. The course is offered by members of the Consortium.

Applying for membership:

Membership of ICUTE is open to experts in toponymy, subject to the approval of the ICUTE Committee. Membership is free of charge. All that is required to join ICUTE is for the applicant to write to:

The Secretary: ICUTE
Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment

Applicants should include an abbreviated CV indicating their expertise in the field.

ICUTE Committee:

  • Peter Raper (RSA): University of the Free State [Chairperson] [2015]
  • Paulo Marcio Leal de Menezes (Brazil): Federal University of Rio de Janeiro [2015]
  • Peter Jordan (Austria): Austrian Academy of Sciences [2015]
  • Cosimo Palagiano (Italy): Sapienza Universita di Roma [2015]
  • Theo du Plessis (RSA): University of the Free State [2015]
  • Jani de Lange (RSA): University of the Free State [Secretary] [2016]


  • Lucie Moller (RSA): University of the Free State [2016]
  • Tendai Mangena (Zimbabwe): Great Zimbabwe University [2016]
  • Tjeerd Tichelaar (Netherlands): Noordhoff Publishers [2016]
  • Trueman Khubheka (RSA): Department Sports, Arts and Culture [2016]
  • Ferjan Ormeling (Germany): Ultrecht University [2016]
  • Pier-Giorgio Zaccheddu (Germany): Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy [2016]
  • Brahim Atoui (Algeria): National Council of Geographical Information [2016]


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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