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

Read Vishakha’s bio


Dr. Veronica Boix Mansilla

Massachussetts, USA
Principal Investigator and Steering Committee member at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Read Veronica’s bio


Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi

Johannesburg, South Africa
CEO of the African Leadership Institute

Read Jackie’s bio


Lennart D'hulst

Opwijk, Belgium
Expert HR Project Manager at NMBS, Board Chair at AFS Belgium Flanders, member of the Sentio inc., Board of Directors

Read Lennart’s bio


Amalie Ferdinand

Copenhagen, Denmark
Consultant, Federation of Public Workers Union

Read Amalie’s bio

Makiko Haraga

Makiko Haraga

Tokyo, Japan
Independent Writing and Editing Professional

Read Makiko’s bio


Isada Hiranwiwatkul

Bangkok, Thailand
Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Head of BCG Thailand

Read Isada’s bio

Ivonne de Leon

Ivonne de Leon

Florida, USA
Founding Partner at TrueCore Group & Transmutis

Read Ivonne’s bio


Eric Lomeli

Texas, USA
Geographic Information Solutions (GIS) Supervisor at Bexar County (Texas)

Read Eric’s bio

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.44.21 PM

Michaela Mariani

Coordinator of Legal Department, IFIS NPL S.pA. (Group Banca IFIS)


Najmuzzaman Mohammad

Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Chief Product Officer at Capria VentureBasecamp

Read Najmu’s bio

Daniel Obst

Daniel Obst

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

Read Daniel’s bio

Ernesto Rey Moreno

Ernesto Rey Moreno

Bogotá, Colombia
Founder & CEO, Empresas REYMORENO

Read Ernesto’s bio


Dr. Willibald Plesser

Vienna, Austria
Attorney at Law, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Read Willibald’s bio


Dr. Roberto Ruffino

Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy
Secretary General of Fondazione Intercultura

Read Roberto’s bio

Urlich Voss

Ulrich Voss

Kronberg, Germany
Founder and Managing Partner at Kronberg Advisors

Read Ulrich’s bio

Life Trustee

Sachiye Kuwamoto

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

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.

Luc Estape

Partner Director, Switzerland

Read Luc’s bio

Rosario Gutierrez

Rosario Gutierrez

Partner Director, Colombia

Read Rosario’s bio


Junko Kawano

Partner Director, AFS Japan

Read Junko’s bio


Juan Medici

Partner Director, Argentina & Uruguay

Read Juan’s bio

AFS in neuem Kleid

Ingeborg Suppin-Fabisch

Partner Director, Austria

Read Ingeborg’s bio


Ulrik Wehner

Partner Director, Denmark

Read Ulrik’s bio

AFS Educational Advisory Council

Melissa Liles (Chair), New York, USA Chief Global Engagement 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 🇺🇸

President and Chief Executive Officer

Read Daniel’s bio


Rita Bangáné Jarecsni 🇭🇺

Chief Financial and Operational Officer

Read Rita’s bio


Maria Grazia Brizi 🇮🇹

Corporate Secretary, Associate General Counsel & Data Protection Officer

Read Maria’s bio

Hal Denton

Hal Denton 🇺🇸

General Counsel & Chief Risk Management Officer

Read Hal’s bio


Efrem Fisher 🇺🇸

Chief Programs Officer

Read Efrem’s bio

Melissa Liles

Melissa Liles 🇺🇸

Chief Global Engagement Officer

Read Melissa’s bio


Lucas Welter 🇧🇷

Chief Organization Development & Strategy Officer

Read Lucas’ bio

AFS International Team

Ana Carolina Cassiano 🇧🇷
Consultant, Educator Relations

Andrea Kustenkow 🇺🇸
Consultant, AFS Archives

Andrés Peñaloza Lanza 🇧🇴
Intern, Educator Relations

Andreza Martins 🇧🇷
Director, Programs

Andrew Menges 🇺🇸
Consultant, Data Analytics & Visualization

Andy Woods Ballard 🇿🇦
Consultant, Business Development & Acting General Manager, Sentio

Camilla Soulere 🇳🇴
Consultant, Human Capital Development

Carla Rey Vasquez 🇨🇴🇳🇿
Consultant, Student Experience & Global Education

Carlos Irias Kattan 🇭🇳
Consultant, Digital Marketing & Website Management

Cristina Mateo 🇩🇴 🇺🇸
HR Manager & Coordinator Accounting

Damian Epsztein 🇦🇷
Consultant, Digital Products

David Blythe 🇺🇸
Manager, Program Policy & Support

Eduardo Assed 🇧🇷
Consultant, Partner Engagement & Market Development

Fabricia Manoel 🇧🇷
Consultant, Program Development & Innovation

Guillermo Bril 🇦🇷
Consultant, Digital Products

Hazar Yildirim 🇹🇷
Director, Strategic Alliances

Heidy Utami 🇮🇩
Fellow, Training Unit

Larry Barnett 🇺🇸
Director, Risk & Crisis Management

Linda Stuart 🇺🇸
Head, Global Competence Certificate

Magnus-Andreas Aase 🇳🇴
Consultant, Digital Initiative

Manuela Ramirez 🇨🇷
Consultant, Volunteer Engagement

Marika Strauss 🇺🇸
Head, Volunteer Engagement

Marshall Adams 🇺🇸
Consultant, Market Development Asia-Pacific

Martha Rivas 🇵🇾🇺🇸
Coordinator, Accounts Payable & Office Services

Martin Teplanszki 🇭🇺
Consultant, Digital Support

Melissa Chang 🇺🇸
Manager, Corporate & Foundation Partnership

Milena Miladinovic 🇷🇸
Consultant, Communications & External Affairs

Molly Stern 🇺🇸
Coordinator, Educational Products

Monica Our 🇺🇸
Director, Budget & Network Finances

Nicole Lebenson 🇺🇸
Director, Partner Engagement & Communications

Pablo Quintela 🇦🇷
Consultant, eLearning

Paul Gamner 🇺🇸
Assistant to the President

Pedro Junqueira 🇧🇷
Head, Digital Products

Raquel Martinez 🇭🇳🇺🇸
Director, Program Marketing

Sarah Collins 🇺🇸
Head, Training

Sean Reilly 🇺🇸
Manager, Sponsored Programs

Shiree Pointer 🇺🇸
Manager, Program Operations & Quality Support

Stijn Van den Bergh 🇧🇪
Consultant, ICT