At a Conference -- "Hope for the Retarded in Asia" -- held from 19-22 November 1973 in Manila, Philippines, under the auspices of UNESCO, the 420 delegates from 21 countries present unanimously recommended for the establishment of the Asian Federation for the Mentally Retarded (AFMR). Thus the Federation was inaugurated.

Rev. Fr. Arthur Malin (1902 - 1980) was largely responsible for this first Conference. Since then an Asian Conference on Mental Retardation (ACMR) had been held once every two years in each of the full member countries, as given in Conferences section. The second cycle began again in Manila in 2001.

At the 18th ACMR held in Taipei (18-23 November 2007), the name of the Federation was officially changed to the ASIAN FEDERATION ON INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES (AFID), and the Conference henceforth will be known as the AFID Conference.

The full and associate membership of AFID is given under Members. The Constitution giving the structure of AFID is also given.

The AFID Executive Board is re-elected once every two years at the General Assembly held normally at the end of each AFID Conference. The AFID Executive Board comprises the President, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice-Presidents, the Immediate Past President and 4 Members-at-Large; also attending with voice but no vote are the seven Honorary Members, and a Representative each from the Asian Resource Centre (Japan), the AFID Secretariat (Korea), and the Asian Journal Centre (Korea).

At the General Assembly held on 11 Oct 2013 at New Delhi, it was decided that the AFID Permanent Secretariat in Singapore will be closed down, and whatever monies and records held will be passed on to the new AFID Secretariat in Seoul, Korea. This AFID Secretariat will be managed by the Korean Association on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (KAIDD). Its email address is kaidd@hanmail.net.

The next Conference, the 23rd AFID Conference, will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2017. All are welcome to attend.