ICDE was founded in 1938 in Canada as the International Council for Correspondence Education. The first World Conference was held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the same year providing the first forum in the world where distance education institutions and professionals could meet, learn from one another and enter into partnerships.
The organization underwent a name change to the International Council for Open and Distance Education in 1982.
In 1988, ICDE opened a Permanent Secretariat in Oslo, Norway and since then has been supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Education in the form of an annual contribution to the Permanent Secretariat's operating expenses.
For more information about ICDE’s history, please see the articles written by former ICDE President and current Chair of the Board of Trustees, David Sewart, and by Kevin Smith, former ICDE President.