ICEF’s roots in international education go back to the 1960s, when Karl Badde, a linguist and pioneering educator, established a chain of language schools in the Middle East. By the 1970’s, this chain included centres in Bonn and London. These centres provided 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 ground-breaking 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 the ICEF Workshop series, which invigorated and internationalised the agent workshop concept. Since their beginning, ICEF Workshops have brought together tens of thousands of institutions and agents from 140 countries.

By the end of the decade, ICEF had also established two affiliate companies catering to new growth areas in international education; Internet Course Finders (now CourseFinders) and ICWE. CourseFinders, launched in 1998, is an Internet platform allowing students to research and discover schools and courses the world over. CourseFinders is now a major student recruitment portal with thousands of students from more than 150 countries using it daily.

ICWE led by Rebecca Stromeyer, operates the Expolingua specialised e-learning conferences (including the industry’s premier e-learning event, Online Educa Berlin), and higher education events,such as the EAIE conference.

In 2004 Markus Badde assumed the leadership of ICEF 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 solutions tailored towards client needs.