ICDE Presidents throughout history

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This article is a work in progress. ICDE members and community are very welcome to contribute to this article with corrections, additional  information, anecdotes and illustrations.

1938 - 1948

At a time when ICDE was still called ICCE (International Council for Correspondence Education), and at the end of its very first Conference, that took place from the 22-24 of August 1938 at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the first of the organisations Executive Committee was appointed: "to hold office until the Second International Conference is held".  The President of that Conference, Rex Haight, was by consequence appointed the first President of our organization and held office from 1938 to 1948. 

1948 - 1969

The second President,  Knute O. Broady "was to become perhaps the most prominent figure in the early years of ICCE and his memory was to be celebrated in a specific lecture at later Conferences", according to David Sewart another former president of ICDE (1988-1992) and prominent figure of the organization. Knute O. Broady was then Professor of School Administration at the University of Nebraska, USA. He held office from 1948 to 1950 but stayed Honorary President  until 1969. 


The third President was A.G. Butcher, former headmaster of the New Zealand Correspondence School (1950-1953), he was followed by the fourth President, W.R. Young, (1953-1958) who was then succeeded by the fifth President, G.J. Buck (1958-1961) and the sixth President, Donald Cameron (1961-1965). 


The seventh President was Renée Erdos (1965-1969), former head of External Studies, Department of Technical Education, New South Wales, Australia. She was President during the 8th ICCE International Conference, that was held in Paris at the Headquarters of UNESCO, in May 1969. That Conference was organized to mark the Council's affiliation to UNESCO, setting the first milestone of the close relation between the two organizations that still lasts today.


The eighth President, Charles A. Wedemeyer, (1969-1972) was succeeded by the ninth President,  Börje Holmberg, (1972-1975), Director of Hermods, Sweden at that time. 

Both  Charles A. Wedemeyer and Börje Holmberg held positions of considerable esteem as scholars in the field of distance education. A few decades later, in 1999, Börje Holmberg would receive the ICDE Prize of Excellence for Lifelong Contribution to the field of open learning and distance education. He would also be made ICDE Honorary Member by the ICDE Executive Committee, in recognition of the distinguished contribution he has made to ICDE.


The tenth President was David Young,  from The Rapid Results College, UK (1975-1978), he was followed by the eleventh President, Bakhshish Singh, from the Punjabi University, India (1978-1982). 

1982- 1985

In 1982, when Sir John Daniel, was Vice President of Athabasca University in Canada he became ICDE’s twelfth President and then became Vice Chancellor of the UK Open University 1990 - 2001. Sir John Daniel, later became UNESCO Assistant Director-General and then went on to become President of the Commonwealth of Learning.  It was under Sir John Daniel's presidency that the organization changed its name from the International Council for Correspondence Education (ICCE) to its current name International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). 


The thirteenth President was Kevin Smith, former Director of the External Studies department of University of New England, Australia (1985-1988) 


The fourteenth President was  David Sewart, former Director of Student Services at The Open University, UK (1988-1992). He was also the former Chair of the ICDE Board of Trustees (2007-2016). It was under the presidency of David Sewart that ICDE saw the creation of the Permanent Secretariat in Oslo, Norway. 


The fifteenth President was Marian Croft, former Director of continuing education at Laurentian University in Canada (1992-1995). She was followed by the sixteenth President, Armando Rocha-Trindade, Universidade Aberta, Portugal (1995-1999).

The last mentioned six presidents are all ICDE Honorary members


The seventeenth President was Molly Corbett Broadformer President at the University of North Carolina, USA (1999-2004). Jim Taylor, former Vice-President from the University of Queensland, Australia has been elected President for a short period after her (2004-2005).


The eighteenth President was Helmut Hoyer,  former Rector at FernUniversität, Germany  (2005-2008). The main points of his presidency have been to develop - together with David Sewart and Svein Haaland, Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the time -  the new ICDE Constitution and to rebuild ICDE on the basis of its new constitution. With the election of the new Executive Committee and, for the first time a Board of Trustees and an Election Committee, he finished his work as acting President of ICDE in 2008. Helmut Hoyer has been a recipient the ICDE Honary Membership and a winner of the ICDE individual prize of Excellence. He was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees in January 2017.

In the years closer to the present, the President of ICDE have been Fritz Pannekoek, former President of Athabasca University (2008-2012), Tian Belawati, former Rector of Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia, currently Vice Chair of the  ICDE Board of Trustees (2012-2015) and Mandla Makhanya Vice Chancellor/Principal at University of South Africa (2015-2018). The current President of ICDE is Belinda Tynan, Deputy Vice Chancellor in Education and Vice-President at RMIT, Australia. She was appointed President of the ICDE Executive Committee in January 2018. 

The Presidents are listed chronologically and photos when available: 


1938-1948: Rex Haight

1948-1950: Knute Broady

1950-1954: A.G. Butcher

1954-1958: W.R. Young

1958-1961: G.J. Buck

1961-1965: Donald Cameron

1965-1969: René Erdos

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1969-1972: Charles Wedemeyer

Borje holmberg-2.jpg

1972-1975: Börje Holmberg

David Young.jpg

1975-1978: David Young

Bakhshish Singh-2.jpg

1978-1982: Bakhshish Singh


1982-1985: Sir John Daniel

Kevin Smith-2.jpg

1985-1988: Kevin Smith


1988-1992: David Sewart

Marian Croft-2.jpg

1992-1995: Marian Croft

Armando Rocha-Trinidade.jpg

1995-1999: Armando Rocha-Trinidade

Molly Corbett Broad.jpg

1999-2004: Molly Corbett Broad

helmut hoyer-2.png

2004-2008: Helmut Hoyer

Frits portrait 2-2.jpg

2008-2012: Fritz Pannekoek


2012-2015: Tian Belawati

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2015-2018: Mandla Makhanya


2018-today: Belinda Tynan

Rita Chan