Board of Trustees

The AFS International Board of Trustees, a diverse group representing over a dozen countries, works in conjunction with our Partners and volunteers worldwide to realize our goal of providing the world’s youth with secure avenues of intercultural exchange.
Dr. Vishaka N. Desai

Dr. Vishaka N. Desai

New York, USA (chair)
Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University, Senior Research Scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs, President Emerita of the Asia Society

J. Brian Atwood

J. Brian Atwood

Massachusetts, USA (vice-chair) 
Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute, Brown University, Former Dean & Chair of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Professor Emeritus. Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution

Maureen Erasmus

Maureen Erasmus

London, United Kingdom
Advisory Partner, Bain & Company

Amalie Ferdinand

Amalie Ferdinand

Copenhagen, Denmark
Consultant, Federation of Public Workers Union

Makiko Haraga

Makiko Haraga

Tokyo, Japan
Independent Writing and Editing Professional

Elisabeth Hardt

Elisabeth Hardt

Brussels, Belgium and Italy
Freelance Consultant

Dede Huang

Dede Huang

Hong Kong, S.A.R.
Director of Development, Chinese International School

Ivonne de Leon

Ivonne de Leon

Florida, United States
Founding Partner at TrueCore Group & Transmutis

William (Bill) Meserve

William (Bill) Meserve

Massachusetts, USA
Retired Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP

Don Mohanlal

Don Mohanlal

New York & Maryland, USA
President & Chief Executive Officer, The Synergos Institute. Vice Chair, Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation, New Delhi, India

Daniel Obst

Daniel Obst

New York, USA (ex officio) 
President and Chief Executive Officer, AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.

Ernesto Rey Moreno

Ernesto Rey Moreno

Bogotá, Colombia
Founder & CEO, Empresas REYMORENO

Reg Smith

Reg Smith

Melbourne, Australia
Business Consultant, ER Solutions Pty Ltd

Ragnar Thorvardarson

Ragnar Thorvardarson

Reykjavik, Iceland
Specialist at Directorate for International and Security Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland

Urlich Voss

Urlich Voss

Kronberg, Germany
Founder and Managing Partner at Kronberg Advisors

Alexis Zlocowski

Alexis Zlocowski

Cordoba, Argentina
Latin America Big Data Sales Director at Teradata Aster

Life Trustees


Dr. Richard M. Hunt

Massachusetts, USA
The University Marshal, Harvard University (retired), World War II AFS ambulance driver


Sachiye Kuwamoto

California, USA
Regional Director, Central California, Japanese-American Citizens League (retired)


Edwin R. Masback, Jr.

New York, USA
President, Masback Hardware Company (retired), World War II AFS ambulance driver

AFS Partner Director Representatives

The AFS Partner Director Representatives, works in conjunction with our Board of Trustees and AFS Volunteers worldwide to realize our goal of providing the world’s youth with secure avenues of intercultural exchange.
Simone Caporali

Simone Caporali

Partner Director, Italy

Jorge Castro

Jorge Castro

Partner Director, USA

Chirawatana Charoonpatarapong

Chirawatana Charoonpatarapong

Partner Director, Thailand

Sherifa Fayez

Sherifa Fayez

Partner Director, Egypt

Marit Gronskei

Marit Gronskei

Partner Director, Norway

Rosario Gutierrez

Rosario Gutierrez

Partner Director, Colombia

AFS Educational Advisory Council

Melissa Liles (Chair), New York, USA Chief Education Officer, AFS Intercultural Programs

Milton J. Bennett, Ph.D. Oregon, USA and Milan, Italy Executive Director, The Intercultural Development Research Institute

Dr. Darla Deardorff, North Carolina, USA Executive Director Association of International Education Administrators and Research Scholar Program in Education, Duke University

Dr. Roberto Ruffino, Colle di val d’Elsa, Italy Secretary General, Fondazione Intercultura

Professor Nagesh Rao, Ahmedabad, India President & Director, MICA Institute of Strategic Marketing and Communication

Michael (Mick) Vande Berg, Ph.D., Maine, USA Principal, MVB Associates

Mitchell R. Hammer (Special Advisor), Ph.D. Maryland, USA President, IDI, LLC and Hammer Consulting, LLC

Bruce La Brack (Special Advisor), Ph.D., California, USA Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, School of International Studies, University of the Pacific

Veronica Boix Mansilla, Ed.D., Massachusetts, USA, Principal Investigator at Project Zero, Lecturer in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education


AFS Staff supports our volunteers, and enable exchanges to succeed by working together to ensure that the highest quality experiences are afforded to all participants and host families. The staff at AFS International provide worldwide support, quality control and development of the 59 AFS Network Organization in 60 countries. 

Executive Team

Daniel Obst

Daniel Obst

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Urs-Rainer von Arx

Dr. Urs-Rainer von Arx 🇨🇭

Vice President and Chief Operations and Financial Officer

Hal Denton

Hal Denton 🇺🇸

General Counsel and Chief Risk Management Officer

Melissa Liles

Melissa Liles 🇺🇸

Chief Education Officer

Sheryl Tucker

Sheryl Tucker 🇺🇸

Chief External Affairs Officer

Bert Vercamer

Bert Vercamer 🇧🇪

Chief Program Innovation Officer & Sentio General Manager

Lucas Welter

Lucas Welter 🇧🇷

Chief Organization Development Officer

AFS International Team

Andrea Kammerer 🇭🇺
Senior Analyst, Management Information

Anna Treyer-Simakova 🇷🇺
International Events and Project Manager

Cristina Mateo 🇩🇴
Coordinator, Accounting and Budget

David Blythe 🇺🇸
Manager, Program Policy and Support

Ebbe Skovdal 🇩🇰
Corporate Secretary

Eduardo Assed 🇧🇷
Senior Consultant, Associate Development and Partner Recovery

Efrem Fisher 🇺🇸
Director, Program Services and Development

Elis Motta 🇧🇷
Consultant, Organization Development

Esteban Araya-Santiago 🇨🇷
Website and Digital Content Specialist

Fabricia Manoel 🇧🇷
Consultant, Organization Development

Genesis Tavarez 🇩🇴

Hazar Yildirim 🇹🇷
Manager, Education Content and Communications

Hristo Banov 🇧🇬
Manager, Management Information

Indre Salciute 🇱🇹
Senior Analyst, Management Information

Larry Barnett 🇺🇸
Director, Risk and Crisis Management

Lingran Zhou 🇨🇳
Alumni, Support and Administrator

Magnus-Andreas Aase 🇳🇴
Consultant, AFS World Café

Maria Grazia Brizi 🇮🇹
Assistant General Counsel and Manager, Network Administration

Marika Strauss 🇺🇸
Organization Development Coordinator

Marcela Lapertosa 🇦🇷
Director, Education and Intercultural Learning

Milena Miladinovic 🇷🇸
Consultant, Senior Writer & Social Marketing Specialist

Monica Our 🇺🇸
Manager, Budget and Network Finances

Nick Cooper 🇬🇧
Manager, Network ICT

Nicole Milano 🇺🇸
Head Archivist and Historical Publications Editor

Paul Gamner 🇺🇸
Assistant to the President 

Raquel Martinez 🇭🇳
Creative Director

Sarah Collins 🇺🇸
Manager, Learning Program

Sheryl Tucker 🇺🇸
Director, Marketing and Communications

Shiree Pointer 🇺🇸
Manager, Program Growth and Quality Support

Stijn Van den Bergh 🇧🇪
Coordinator, ICT Support and Training

Tim Murray 🇮🇪
Director, Finance and Administration

Meet our fab interns & fellows


Elena Abou Mrad 🇮🇹

“My fellowship in the AFS Archives means being constantly in touch with the documents, artifacts, and photographs from the history of AFS, and especially with the great people that shaped this organization and made it grow. This is why I feel honored to focus on the processing and preservation of Arthur Howe Jr.’s collection during my fellowship. Art was a World War II volunteer, former president, and Life Trustee of AFS. In addition to that, working at AFS International gives me the opportunity to experience the contact with other cultures and languages, starting from the office! As a comparative literature graduate, I find it really inspiring.”


Mardon Akhmedov 🇺🇿

“I am about halfway through my internship at AFS Intercultural Programs. I am improving my technical skills and learning new things about programming while developing a new customer-facing website platform that helps connect members to an online archive of information. I’m also having unforgettable experiences, like our wonderful staff retreat. We spent a day together playing interesting team games like “Escape the Room.” We also made pizza. I never thought making pizza was such fun. At the end of the day we practiced Tai Chi. I have never done these kinds of activities before, and now they are  interests of mine. 

“I support the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program—an AFS network-wide intercultural training and assessment program designed to improve the collective intercultural competence of volunteers and staff. My tasks involve coordinating assessment and evaluation activities for all Learning Program participants and qualified trainer candidates, assisting in content development and in the planning of in-person workshops across the AFS network. By collaborating with AFS staff and volunteers from around the world, I also get the chance to learn about different cultural settings and enhance my own intercultural competencies.” 

Ana Carolina Cassiano 🇧🇷

2016 fellow 



Maria Maione 🇮🇹

“I have been an intern on the Organization and Volunteer Development team for almost five months now, and I am amazed at how much I have grown in such little time! Working in OD at AFS is allowing me to develop a variety of skills including design thinking and customer journey design. Currently, my favorite project is the implementation of the Volunteer Survey & Evaluation, a global survey about the volunteer experience that combines different research methodologies and allows flexibility to suit different cultural needs. Most importantly, AFS is teaching me what it really means to work in a multicultural environment. To be able to exchange ideas with people from different countries and backgrounds on a daily basis is thrilling and mind-opening beyond words.”


Doing a fellowship at AFS International has taught me a lot. I am developing new skills like designing projects and creating online learning tools, and improving skills I already have such as event planning and data analysis. Organizing network-wide events helped me learn more about working in different cultural settings and with volunteers and staff members from around the world. Working in such a multicultural environment gives you a lot of learning opportunities.

Sercan Selvi 🇹🇷

2016 fellow