Our history

ADI's history from its foundation in 1984 to the present. How ADI has grown to be the worldwide federation of over 100 Alzheimer associations.

The growth of ADI

In 1984, a small band of pioneers and experts came together to discuss the formation of an international organisation for Alzheimer’s disease. Representatives from existing Alzheimer associations in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada joined with observers from Belgium, France and Germany and founded ADI.

More than 35 years later, the vision is unchanged and the dedication unwavering. ADI has grown from 4 members to be the worldwide federation of over 100 Alzheimer associations, becoming the global voice on dementia.

In its earlier years, ADI’s primary role was making international connections between existing associations and other partners, coordinating international activities and sharing information. Starting in the 1990s, ADI strived to expand its membership around the world, focusing on developing and engaging new associations, particularly in low and middle income countries.

As ADI continued to grow, the focus shifted to public policy and global awareness raising through important publications including the World Alzheimer Report. With increased recognition of dementia as a global health priority, ADI works to advocate for better policy at international and regional levels, while supporting and developing the capacity of Alzheimer associations around the world.

Alzheimer University

The first Alzheimer University was held in London in 1998 with participants from eight counties. The programme aimed to give participants the tools to identify their aims, involve people, provide information, raise money and awareness, and influence public policy.

Read more about Alzheimer University


  • 1984: ADI was founded in the US, becoming registered in 1985.
  • 1985: First ADI conference was held in Brussels, Belgium.
  • 1992: ADI entered into Official Working Relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • 1994: On 21 September, ADI marked the first World Alzheimer’s Day. ADI’s President, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, was joined by Dr José Manoel Bertolote from WHO in witnessing ADI Chairman Brian Moss sign a declaration challenging everyone to raise awareness of dementia.
  • 1998: Alzheimer University training programme was piloted in London with participants from eight counties. The programme aimed to give participants the tools to identify their aims, involve people, provide information, raise money and awareness, and influence public policy.
  • 1998: The first meeting of the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, initiated by Prof Martin Prince, took place during ADI’s conference in India. Less than 10% of all population-based research into dementia had been directed towards the 66% of people with dementia who lived in developing countries and the group aimed to redress the balance.
  • 2001: ADI created a People With Dementia working group, and two years later Christine Bryden became the first person with dementia to join the board of ADI.
  • 2005: The 10/66 group, spearheaded by Cleusa Ferri, published in The Lancet, on the global prevalence of dementia. This publication was key for ADI and its members in advocating to the WHO and governments.
  • 2005: ADI launched the Twinning programme – an approach that enables peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience between two partnered Alzheimer associations.
  • 2009: The World Alzheimer Report on the global impact of dementia was published, the first comprehensive global review on dementia.
  • 2012: WHO published the report ‘Dementia: a public health priority’ in collaboration with ADI. The report provided an overview of the impact of dementia worldwide and highlighted the commitment of the WHO to making dementia a global health priority.
  • 2012: World Alzheimer’s Month was launched, enabling Alzheimer and dementia associations around the world to extend their awareness programmes around World Alzheimer’s Day.
  • 2017: The WHO ‘Global action plan on the public health response to dementia’ was adopted by member states. ADI was key to the development of the draft plan, which followed many years of work.
  • 2018: The first publication of ‘From plan to impact’, an instrument for civil society to monitor advancements towards the goals of the Global action plan as felt by people with dementia, care partners and Alzheimer associations.
  • 2018: The STRiDE (Strengthening responses to dementia in developing countries) project launched, aiming to build and strengthen the capacity of researchers in seven low and middle income countries. ADI and seven member associations are involved in the project which aims to drive practical impacts from the research.
  • 2019: ADI ran a successful series of webinars on research participation. These led to further webinars for member associations, with a shift in 2020 to topics of COVID-19 and dementia.
  • 2019: Launch of an Americas-wide awareness campaign by ADI and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) aiming to get people talking more comfortably and openly about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

10/66 Dementia Research Group

The first meeting of the 10/66 Dementia Research Group was held at the ADI conference in India in 1998.

About the ADI conference

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