A creative thinker and collaborator charged with leading
a global movement to educate global citizens
New York, NY – The AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Obst as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the AFS Board. As a premier nonprofit intercultural education organization, AFS educates and empowers global citizens of all ages through study abroad programs, intercultural learning and volunteerism.
Obst will oversee and direct the future strategy of AFS, a global network of 59 member organizations with programs in 99 countries. The former Deputy Vice President for International Partnerships at the Institute of International Education (IIE) will succeed Vincenzo Morlini, who announced his plans to retire after leading AFS for five years.
“At a time when the world is simultaneously feeling the benefits and fissures of a global economy, Daniel’s extensive international education experience will help broaden the reach and deepen the impact of AFS as a provider and advocate of global citizenship education,” says Vishakha Desai, Chair of the AFS Board of Trustees.
Since 2001, Daniel has provided strategic leadership for several groundbreaking IIE initiatives, research projects and sponsorships. Six years ago Obst led the launch of Generation Study Abroad, which mobilized 700 international partner organizations to help double the number of U.S. Americans who study abroad. Under his leadership, partners pledged more than $185 million to support study abroad. In addition, this initiative has also increased interest as well as study aboard opportunities for students from low-income communities.
As the author and editor of many influential books and papers, such as Innovation through Education: Building the Knowledge Economy in the Middle East, Obst has helped shape the international education conversation worldwide.
“Global competency and intercultural understanding help us navigate different viewpoints and cultures, respect diversity, and develop mutual trust,” says Obst. “Knowing how to work and collaborate in diverse settings prepares young people to succeed and lead in business, the public sector and nonprofit organizations. In fact, NGO leaders believe that culturally competent volunteers are vital to the success of the United Nations Sustainability Goals, as well as local social impact projects.”
“International experiences shape the worldview of young people forever, which is why study abroad is such an important investment in students around the world,” says Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE. “Under Daniel’s leadership, AFS will become an even more valuable partner in the Generation Study Abroad movement to increase the number of students who have the opportunity to gain international experience. We look forward to strengthening our alliance with AFS.”
Obst graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (USA) and London School of Economics (UK). He currently serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and is the treasurer of the Board of Directors of the German University Alliance. Daniel participated in the prestigious European Union Visitors Program.
Obst was born in Berlin, Germany, where he lived until his high school exchange program in Warner Robins, Georgia (USA).
“I am energized and motivated by the history and legacy of AFS,” says Obst who is deeply passionate about the lifelong impact of the study abroad experience. “In these times of great uncertainty, the world needs more intercultural engagement—and AFS with its incredibly strong volunteer culture is well positioned for growth and leadership in fostering intercultural competence around the world.”