In 1988, Commonwealth Heads of Government met in Vancouver and decided to establish an organisation that would use distance learning and technologies to promote education and training in Member States and to strengthen Commonwealth co-operation. Today, we can say that COL has fulfilled that vision and become a well-respected organisation helping governments and institutions to expand the scale, efficiency and quality of learning that leads to development.

COL is what it is today because of the tireless efforts of many from around the Commonwealth and the strong, stable foundations they have laid. If COL is well regarded today, that is due largely to the outstanding guidance of its distinguished Board of Governors, the valuable legacy of its former Presidents and the dedication and commitment of its staff, a group of world-class professionals. COL is also very grateful to its host country, Canada, and to the several governments around the Commonwealth that have the confidence to invest in COL.