Since 1934, the IBE has organized the International Conference on Education (ICE), which provides a forum for dialogue between Ministers of Education. While Ministers of Education play the most active role during the ICE, other partners such as researchers, practitioners, representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations also participate actively in the dialogue. Despite its intergovernmental nature, the Conference is open to all those concerned with the topics to be discussed.
The themes of the ICE are proposed by the IBE Council and approved by the UNESCO General Conference. Alongside the regular ICE plenary sessions, major debates, etc., other meetings, round-tables and special exhibitions are also organized. Before the start of the Conference, Ministers of Education are invited to send a “message” related to the theme to be discussed during the session. In 2004, young people were also invited to send their messages to the Conference.
Member States present to each session of the ICE a National Report on the Development of Education. The ceremony for awarding the Comenius Medal to outstanding personalities or institutions in the field of educational research and innovation takes place during the Conference.