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.