A Visual History of the IBE

In 2017, at 92 years of age, the International Bureau of Education (IBE), stands out as the oldest intergovernmental organization in education and indeed the cradle of global education as we know it today. It founded processes currently followed by the formally recognized “convening agencies” for articulating and steering the global education agenda such as Education 2030.


To commemorate this long and prestigious journey, the IBE commissioned multipleStudio this editorial project in the shape of a book: A Visual History of the IBE.

A Visual History of the IBE takes us on a visual journey of the IBE’s rich and fascinating history, from its very early beginnings going through the turbulent and unsteady years of the world wars, and all the way to the present moment, where advances made by neuroscience into how the human brain learns promise to reveal the keys to a universal quality education.

Our goal was to frame this visual journey in a sober and elegant editorial piece, taking care of every detail from design and layout, to materials, finishes, and printing techniques.

Édouard Claparède (1878-1940)

Professor of Psychology at the Faculty of Sciences of Geneva, founder of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, and co-founder of the International Bureau of Education. Claparède committed himself to a new pedagogical approach focused on the activities of children.

July 1939

ICPE delegates enjoy a coffee break. ICPE Recommendation 18 “encouraged teachers to improve their grades by granting them grants to facilitate peer learning through summer courses.” Unfortunately, less than 8 weeks later, most of the European borders were closed and, therefore, also the opportunities provided for peer learning.

In 1939, at the start of World War II, the IBE established the Service of Intellectual Aid to Prisoners of War (SIAP). By the end of 1945, more than half a million books, worth more than 2 million Swiss francs, were distributed to prisoners of war across European countries.


The IBE Director Mmantsetsa Marope, welcoming the first cohort of the IBE/International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Science of Learning fellows. Five senior fellows spent the last quarter of 2016 at the IBE, translating neuroscience research into briefs accessible to policy makers and practitioners, to improve learning outcomes.