History of IDF

Last update: 13/01/2023


  • The International Diabetes Federation is officially founded on September 23, 1950 in Amsterdam.
  • An Executive Board is constituted, consisting of a President, three Vice Presidents, a Secretary-Treasurer and two Honorary Presidents. President: Dr. R.D. Lawrence
    (UK); Vice Presidents: Dr. J.P. Hoet (Belgium); Mr. Maurice Paz ( France); Dr. Howard Root (USA); Secretary-Treasurer: Dr. F. Gerritzen ( The Netherlands). Honorary
    Presidents: Prof. Charles Best (Canada); Prof. Elliot Joslin (USA).

1952 -1955

  • Dr. R.D. Lawrence is re-elected as President for a second term.
  • 1952: First IDF Congress held in Leiden, the Netherlands.
  • A sub-committee is formed to draft the first constitution, which is subsequently ratified by the 16 member associations of IDF.
  • IDF member countries include: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Uruguay and the USA.

1955 – 1958

  • Dr. R.D. Lawrence is re-elected as President for a third term.
  • 1955: Second IDF Congress held in Cambridge, UK.
  • An Education Committee is created to organise Postgraduate courses.
  • A small committee is formed to collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its subsidiaries, and the World Medical Association.
  • 1957: IDF establishes offical relations with WHO.

1958 -1961

  • Prof. J.P. Hoet (Belgium) assumes the Presidency from Dr. R.D. Lawrence at the end of the meeting of the General Council — a practice that would become the norm.
  • 1958: Third IDF Congress held in Dusseldorf, Germany.
  • All new applicants for membership must be sponsored from two existing member associations.
  • French becomes the second official language of IDF.
  • It is decided that Presidents who serve their full terms will be appointed as Honorary Presidents. Prof. Bernardo Houssay from Argentina and R.D. Lawrence are elected the first Honorary Presidents.


  • Prof. Howard Root (U.S.A.) assumes the Presidency.
  • 1961: Fourth IDF Congress held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Member associations are appointed as Vice Presidents in place of individuals.

1964 - 1967

  • Prof. Howard Root is re-elected as President for a second term
  • 1964: Fifth IDF Congress is held in Toronto, Canada in 1964

1967 – 1970

  • Dr. Rachmiel Levine (U.S.A.) assumes the Presidency.
  • 1967: Sixth IDF Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Individuals are once again elected as Vice Presidents but member associations remain on the Executive Board.
  • Disaffiliation of a member association is incorporated into the IDF Constitution.


  • Prof. Frank Young (UK) assumes the Presidency.
  • 1970: Seventh IDF Congress held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • A WHO representative, Dr. Chopra, is invited as an Observer to the Executive Board, a sign of increasing collaboration between IDF and WHO.

1973 -1976

  • Prof. Rolf Luft (Sweden) assumes the Presidency.
  • 1973: Eighth IDF Congress held in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The Commission for Teaching Programme is initiated, providing a seven day refresher course on diabetes.
  • The Commission for Socio-Medical Programmes is established under Prof. G. Verdonk, to specifically look into programmes for lay people.
  • 1974: decision is made to revise the IDF constitution.

1976 - 1979

  • Prof. R. Luft is re-elected as President for a second term.
  • 1976: Ninth IDF Congress held in New Delhi, India.
  • The existing constitution is formally repealed and a new Constitution and By-laws are adopted unanimously by the General Council.
  • Prof. V. Foglia; Prof. F. Gerritzen; Dr. Alexander Marble; and Mr. Maurice Paz are elected as Honorary Presidents.
  • 1977: it is decided to take the IDF Congress to Africa and Nairobi, Kenya, is appointed as host city for the tenth IDF Congress in 1982.

1979 - 1982

  • Dr. Albert Renold (Switzerland) assumes the Presidency
  • 1979: Tenth IDF Congress held in Vienna, Austria
  • 1980: the hummingbird becomes the official logo of IDF
  • Member associations no longer sit on the Board as organisations.
  • Special Review Committee - chaired by Dr. Luft - set up to assess the activities and strategy of the Federation. Members included Drs. Bajaj, Pfeiffer, Krall and Mr. Decker.
  • In response to apartheid in South Africa, it is decided that henceforth all IDF Congresses can only be hosted in countries where all IDF Member Associations and nationals of that country are freely admitted and accepted as members.
  • Prof. R. Luft becomes the first Honorary Member of IDF.

1982 -1985

  • Prof. Leo Krall (U.S.A.) assumes the Presidency
  • 1982: 11th IDF Congress held in Nairobi, Kenya. IDF members from South Africa are not allowed to enter Kenya to attend due to apartheid laws.
  • The seven regions of IDF formally created
  • Board of Management created to oversee the day to day administration of the Federation.
  • Nominating Committee created
  • The IDF Secretariat becomes the “Executive Office” of the Federation



  • Prof. J. J. Hoet (Belgium) assumes the Presidency
  • 1988: 13th IDF Congress held in Sydney, Australia


  • Wendell Mayes Jr. (U.S.A.) becomes the first lay President of the Federation
  • 1991: 14th IDF Congress held in Washington DC, USA
  • 14 new associations are welcomed as full members.
  • World Health Assembly Resolution 42.35 results in the creation of a Diabetes Unit within WHO
  • World Diabetes Day initiated by IDF and WHO in 1991
  • Prof. J.J. Hoet and Prof. H. Keen are elected Honorary Presidents
  • The following Task Forces are established: Diabetes Health Economics; Finance and By-laws; Revenue Generation

1994 – 1997

  • Prof. Jak Jervell (Norway) assumes the Presidency
  • 1994: 15th IDF Congress held in Kobe, Japan
  • IDF membership increases to 130 national diabetes associations in 108 countries
  • Education Foundation created
  • Consultative sections on Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes and Diabetes Education established
  • The following Task Forces are established: Non-Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), Insulin, Appropriate Technology, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Member Association Development, Regional Development
  • Prof. Harold Rifkin and Prof. S. Baba are elected Honorary Presidents
  • Archbishop Trevor Huddleston is elected Honorary Member


  • Ms. Maria de Alva (Mexico) assumes the Presidency
  • 1997: 16th IDF Congress held in Helsinki, Finland
  • IDF/WHO working group established
  • 1999: The IDF Bulletin is renamed "Diabetes Voice" and published in English, French and Spanish
  • A By-Law is passed granting IDF fiscal and operational responsibility for its Congress
  • IDF website launched in 1999
  • Wendell Mayes Jr., Lorna Mellor, Manuel Serrano Rios and Samad Shera are elected as Honorary Presidents
  • Aladin Alwan, James Jackson, Hilary King, Rudolf Korec, Eric Mngola, Z. Skrabalo, Meng Tan and K. Staer-Johanson are elected as Honorary Members
  • Task Force on Congress Development established


  • Sir George Alberti (UK) assumes the Presidency
  • 2000: 17th IDF Congress held in Mexico City, Mexico
  • 2000: First edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2000: Consultative Section on the Diabetic Foot established
  • 50th Anniversary of foundation of IDF  
  • IDF membership increases to 176 national diabetes associations in 136 countries
  • Prof. Jak Jervell and Prof. John Turtle are elected as Honorary Presidents
  • Mr Neil Decker, Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland, Prof. Thomas Johnson, Prof. Michiel Krans, Sir A. McIntyre, Sir K. Ramdanee, Prof. S. Tandhanand and Mr. Ray Williams are elected as Honorary Members
  • The following Task Forces are established: IDF Review, Epidemiology and Prevention, Cardiovascular Disease
  • 2003: IDF Life for a Child Programme established


  • Prof. Pierre Lefèbvre (Belgium) assumes the Presidency
  • 2003: 18th IDF Congress held in Paris, France
  • 2003: Second edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • IDF Executive Office assumes responsibility for the organisation of the IDF Congress
  • 2006: United Nations Resolution 61/225 ("World Diabetes Day") passed in December
  • The blue circle is introduced as the global symbol of diabetes
  • Ms. Maria de Alva elected as Honorary President
  • The following Task Forces are established: Diabetes awareness, Insurance, Position Statements


  • Prof. Martin Silink (Australia) assumes the Presidency
  • 2006: 19th IDF Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2006: Third edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • The blue circle becomes the official logo of World Diabetes Day and the global symbol for diabetes awareness
  • The first United Nations World Diabetes Day is marked in New York in November 2007
  • For the first time, landmank buildings and monuments around the world are lit in blue for diabetes awareness in November
  • Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice (DCRP) becomes the official journal of IDF in 2009
  • 2008: IDF appoints first Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Sir George Alberti is elected as Honorary President
  • Task Force on National Diabetes Policy and Action established in 2007
  • 2008: first IDF Centres of Education designated


  • Prof. Jean-Claude Mbanya (Cameroon) assumes the Presidency
  • 2009: 20th IDF Congress held in Montreal, Canada
  • 2009: Fourth edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2009: IDF is one of the founding members of the NCD Alliance
  • 2011: 21st IDF Congress held in Dubai, UAE
  • 2011: Fifth edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2011: Establishment of IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes programme
  • IDF plays a leading role in the first UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, held in September 2011
  • It is decided to hold the IDF Congress every two years
  • The following Task Forces are established: Global Advocacy, Science
  • Prof. Paul Zimmet is elected as Honorary President
  • Prof. Linda Siminerio, Prof. Azad Khan and Mr. Brian Wentzell are elected as Honorary Members


  • Sir Michael Hirst (UK) assumes the Presidency
  • 2013: 22nd IDF Congress is held in Melbourne, Australia
  • 2013: sixth edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2013: WHO voluntary targets on NCDs agreed
  • Establishment of the IDF Parliamentarians for Diabetes Global Network (PGDN)
  • 2014: Second UN High Level Meeting on NCDs held in New York
  • 2015: 23rd IDF Congress is held in Vancouver, Canada
  • 2015: Seventh edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • Prof. Martin Silink and Prof. Jean-Claude Mbanya are elected as Honorary Presidents


  • Prof. Shaukat Sadikot (India) assumes the presidency
  • IDF membership increases to over 230 national diabetes associations in more than 160 countries
  • 2016: Online IDF School of Diabetes established
  • 2016: Establishment of IDF Blue Circle Voices network
  • Designation of IDF Centres of Excellence in Diabetes Care
  • IDF Disaster Management Response Plan developed
  • 2017: Eighth edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2017: 23rd IDF Congress held in Abu Dhabi, UAE


  • Prof. Nam H. Cho assumes the presidency
  • 2018: 1st IDF Diabetes Complications Congress held in Hyderabad, India
  • 2019: Ninth edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2019: 24th IDF Congress held in Busan, Korea


  • Prof. Andrew Boulton assumes the presidency
  • 2021: IDF and Direct Relief announce initiative to bring diabetes products to vulnerable populations around the globe
  • 2021: Long-acting insulin analogues and SGLT2 inhibitors are included in WHO Essential Medicines List
  • 2021: 10th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas published
  • 2021: IDF Virtual Congress on diabetes complications and Covid-19 held in December
  • 2022: IDF School of Diabetes launches Understanding Diabetes platform
  • 2022: 25th IDF Congress held in Lisbon, Portugal


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