The Central Institute of English was the brainchild of the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. CIE, as it was called then, was set up in 1958 in Hyderabad to train teachers of English. In April 1972, the Institute broadened its scope to include the major foreign languages, and was renamed the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages. CIE became CIEFL, and in July 1973 in recognition of its high standards of excellence, the University Grants Commission accorded the Institute the status of a deemed university.
The Institute continued to grow; M. Litt and Ph.D programmes were added to the existing Post Graduate Diploma courses. To meet the demands of language teachers across the country, the Institute set up two Regional Centres: one in Shillong (1974), and the other in Lucknow (1976). With the introduction of the Department of Correspondence Courses in 1974 , language teachers, both English and foreign languages, had access to many courses through the distance mode. In 2000, the CIEFL shed its ‘training institute’ avatar, and for the first time began to offer M.A programmes in English Literature, English Language Teaching, Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Phonetics, and Media and Communication. Seven years later, in 2007, thanks to an Act of Parliament, the Institute affectionately called ‘seefl’ by many became ‘iifl’.
In the past 50 years, many scholars have visited us and interacted with our faculty and researchers; prominent visitors have included Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, Anita Desai, William Golding, Noam Chomsky, Michael Halliday, Richard Kayne, E C G Sudharshan, U R Ananthamurthy, A.K Ramanujam and Braj Kachru.