AFS Intercultural Programs has welcomed three new members to the Board of Trustees: Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi, Najmuzzaman Mohammad, and Dr. Roberto Ruffino. They will serve three-year terms on the Board and bring in their specific know-how and skills to advance AFS’s mission to build a more just and peaceful world by developing active global citizens, globalizing schools and institutions, and expanding access to intercultural education. We congratulate Amalie Ferdinand and Ernesto Rey Moreno on their re-election to the Board, and thank Elizabeth Hardt, Dede Huang and Reg Smith whose service on the Board ended in October 2017.


Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi is the CEO of the African Leadership Institute (AFLI), based in South Africa. She is also a Fellow of the highly competitive pan-African Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Program run by the AFLI together with Oxford University. In 2012, Forbes Africa recognized her as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa – women under 45 shaping the narrative of Africa’s rising. Jackie is a seasoned strategist with academic and practical experience, serving as the former Senior Strategist of the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), Strategy Lead at Deloitte Consulting and was also instrumental in setting up the Deloitte Africa Desk. Jackie has a PhD in Strategic Marketing from Cardiff University in the UK.  After completing her PhD, she lectured and published her work in various peer-reviewed journals.  She is active on many boards and as a keen Africa-watcher, has authored a number of thought-leadership pieces on the transformations happening in Africa.

Najmuzzaman (Najmu) Mohammad is Quality Product Manager at Aurea Software and Member of the Board of AFS India. He is a certified National Qualified Trainer for the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program, and a former recipient of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Program Scholarship awarded by the US Department of State, which enabled him to study abroad in the United States. Najmu holds an MBA with a specialization in Innovation and Intrapreneurship and is a national finalist and/or winner in numerous national and international Tech competitions. Last year, he created an app for AFS India volunteers, helping them work together and staying updated about the upcoming AFS events, videos, social media, blog posts and activities. Najmu is the recipient of the AFS Young Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016.

Dr. Roberto Ruffino is the Secretary General of the Intercultura Foundation, which promotes research and experimentation in educational exchanges, and the former Secretary General of Intercultura (AFS Italy). His work focuses on the pedagogy of international pupil exchanges and he has encouraged research in this field, by cooperating with UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the European Commission. Roberto founded and served as the Chairman of the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), served on the European Board of SIETAR and presided at SIETAR Italy. SIETAR International Congress in Washington awarded him the Senior Interculturalist Award. Roberto holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Turin and an honorary doctorate in education science awarded by the University of Padua for being “an entrepreneurial leader in the field of intercultural education, that he has contributed to introduce into Italian schools”.

Find out more about AFS Leadership here.