AFS Intercultural Programs has added new members, Prof. Martyn Barrett (UK), Matteo Biancolini (Italy), and Wantoe Teah Wantoe (USA/Liberia), to the AFS International Board of Trustees. They will bring in their extensive experience 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.

Amalie Ferdinand and Ernesto Rey Moreno were elected for another three-year term on the Board. We also thank outgoing Trustees, Regina Honu, Dr. Roberto Ruffino, and Dr. Helmut Schuster, for their dedication and commitment during their service on the AFS International Board of Trustees.

Three new members were also added to the AFS Partner Director Representatives, who work in conjunction with our Board of Trustees: Gatot Sam (AFS Indonesia), Watcharapoj Sapsanguanboon (AFS Thailand), and Cecilia Vasquez (AFS Guatemala). We thank Tara Boyce Hoffman (AFS USA), Rodrigo Casarejos (AFS Chile), and Dr. Josephine Jim (AFS Hong Kong) whose service as Partner Director Representatives ended.

Find out more about the leadership of AFS here.

Meet the new members of the AFS International Board of Trustees:

AFS Intercultural Programs has added new members, Prof. Martyn Barrett (UK), Matteo Biancolini (Italy), and Wantoe Teah Wantoe (USA/Liberia), to the AFS International Board of Trustees

Martyn Barrett (UK)

Martyn Barrett is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Surrey, UK. His primary research interests are focused on young people’s intercultural, democratic and global competences, the role of education in promoting the competences required for living in culturally diverse democratic societies and in a globalized world, and young people’s political and civic engagement and active global citizenship. Although he was originally trained as a psychologist, he has a very strong commitment to multidisciplinary research, and over the years he has worked with educationists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and policy analysts.

He has been working as an expert for the Council of Europe since 2006, and from 2013-2018 he led the Council of Europe expert group that developed the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC). He has also worked as an expert for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), helping to develop the conceptual framework and assessments of global competence that took place in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018.

Martyn is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Psychology by the University of Chichester in the UK in October 2022 “in recognition of his outstanding impact on the education of children and young people and the inspiration his work continues to give across many cultures.” Further details about Martyn may be obtained from his homepage at

Matteo Biancolini (Italy)

Matteo Biancolini is an Independent Financial Advisor and Entrepreneur.

After receiving a Master’s degree in Finance and Risk Management he specialized in the areas of wealth management, financial planning and financial portfolio investment for private investors and corporations.

After many years working in the independent advisory field Matteo has launched a startup called Investitore Strategico and a Research and Study Center on economy and financial markets, where he leads a team of analysts that help people manage and invest their money with the digital help and support of independent financial advisors.

His main skills range from financial markets analysis, personal financial planning, financial portfolio investments, wealth management and business model creation.

A lifelong volunteer since his study abroad with AFS from Italy to the USA in 2003, Matteo is also a former board member and Chair of AFS Intercultura from 2017 to 2023, where he learned new skills in scholarships and fundraising, alongside volunteer’s development and engagement area.

Wantoe Wantoe (USA/Liberia)

Wantoe T. Wantoe has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of women and children and has emerged as one of Liberia and Africa’s leading advocates for global sustainability and youth development. Currently, Wantoe serves as a Steering Member on the United Nations Department of Global Communication Youth Steering Committee, where he actively contributes to the development and implementation of global youth policies. In addition, he has been appointed to the AFS Youth Assembly Advisory Council, leveraging his expertise to provide guidance on youth-related initiatives.

In 2013, Wantoe was appointed as the youth representative to Liberia’s Independent National Human Rights Commission. In this role, he spearheaded a project focused on strengthening bystander protection and improving access to human rights investigations. Wantoe played a crucial role in establishing the first youth structures for child rights institutions across all 15 counties of Liberia, ensuring that the voices and rights of children were given due consideration and protection. In 2014, he took on the vital task of documenting the violations committed against 785 orphaned and neglected children during the Ebola outbreak, as a member of the Liberia National Children and Youth Advisory Board.

Wantoe has been recognized by Princess Diana and was awarded at the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly by the Friendship Ambassador Foundation. He is a certified 2019 Obama Foundation Leadership Asset and Dialogue Alumni, as well as a recipient of the 2019 Princess Diana Award. In 2018, he was honored as the Global Young Voices SDGs Champion Winner, and in 2020, he received the Friend of Humanity Distinguished Alumni Award At the Youth Assembly. The College of Mount Saint Vincent also acknowledged his contributions to global enlightenment, student consciousness, and systemic change in June 2020, granting him the Vincent De-Paul Award. He further received the Frédéric Ozanam Award in 2021.

Wantoe was named one of eight ‘Young Pacesetters for African Development’ by the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network in June 2022, during the Africa Day celebrations at the United Nations Trustee Chambers.

Wantoe earned a Master Degree in Public Policy from the University of Oxford.

Meet the new AFS Partner Director Representatives:

Three new members were also added to the AFS Partner Director Representatives, who work in conjunction with our Board of Trustees: Gatot Sam (AFS Indonesia), Watcharapoj Sapsanguanboon (AFS Thailand), and Cecilia Vasquez (AFS Guatemala)

Gatot Sam (AFS Indonesia)

Gatot Sam has been the Partner Director AFS Indonesia / ED Yayasan Bina Antarbudaya since 2022. Before joining AFS, Gatot worked for Schlumberger, a multinational oil field service company, with more than 100,000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries, in various positions and in many countries. After retiring from the position of HR Director Schlumberger Geomarket Indonesia, Gatot became an active AFS volunteer in 2016, and became a Member of the Board AFS Indonesia in 2019. Gatot is active in Indonesia Traditional Javanese Theater Association, promoting traditional art and performance, he serves as Vice Chair of Association Alumni Salatiga, and is active in the Alumni of ITB Association (Institute of Technology Bandung). Gatot graduated from the Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB) Indonesia as an Electrical Engineer.

Watcharapoj Sapsanguanboon (AFS Thailand)

Watcharapoj has been the Partner Director for AFS Thailand since 2022. He has been serving as a board member of AFS Thailand since 2017 and was a volunteer for AFS Thailand since his study abroad program in 1996 in Italy. He has experience in logistics and supply chain management with several multinational companies, including Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Toys “R” Us, and Callaway Golf. Additionally, he has been a lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), currently holding the positions of Assistant Professor in Business Administration and Director of the Center for Strategy and Enterprise Competitiveness (STECO). He received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Mahidol University International College (MUIC) where he earned his bachelor’s degree in International Business Management. He holds a Ph.D. in Management with specialization in Supply Chain Management from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand.

Cecilia Vasquez (AFS Guatemala)

Ceci has been the Executive Director of Fundación AFS Guatemala since 2014. Ceci served as a Board Member of AFS Guatemala since 2009, and was a life-long volunteer for AFS since her study abroad program in 1991 to Switzerland. She is also a former Board member of Sentio (AFS subsidiary for programs for young adults), and of the Latin American Alliance for Intercultural Education (ALEI). Before joining AFS as a staff member, Ceci worked in education, teaching English and later as a Professor of Teachers of English. She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University San Pablo de Guatemala.