Our History

ICEF's roots in international education go back to the 1960s, when Karl Badde, a linguist and pioneering educationalist, established a chain of language schools in the Middle East. This chain included centres in Bonn and London by the 1970s, with a specialisation in Arabic language training for diplomats and business executives. In 1984, Badde expanded into publishing with his son, Markus Badde, and daughter, Rebecca Stromeyer, producing a series of groundbreaking language travel and education guides as well as directories for the distance education sector and translation industry.

In the 1990s, the Badde family entered the conference and exhibition industry. They formed ICEF (International Consultants for Education and Fairs) in 1991 to spearhead events such as the ICEF Workshop series, which invigorated and internationalised the agent workshop concept, and which has now brought together tens of thousands of institutions and agents from 140 countries. By the end of the decade, they had established two affiliate companies to cater to new growth areas in international education. Internet Course Finders launched in 1998, an Internet platform allowing students to research and discover the schools and courses the world over, now a major student recruitment portal with thousands of students from more than 150 countries using it on a daily basis.

The year 2000 saw the creation of ICWE, led by Rebecca Stromeyer. ICWE operates the Expolingua education fairs, a series of specialised e-learning conferences (including the industry's premier e-learning event, Online Educa Berlin), and higher education events, including the annual exhibition of the EAIE's conference. Markus Badde assumed the leadership of ICEF in 2004, applying insights and experience gained from working during the 1990s in Silicon Valley's fast-paced technology sector. Today, ICEF offers a host of results-oriented capabilities tailored for different client needs.