In each edition of EFILife, we dedicate some space to partner news, including personnel changes as well as relevant events that have taken place over the past month.


AFS France has selected Myriam Verger as the new Partner Director. Myriam has a Diploma in European Enterprise Management from the Bournemouth University in the UK and a Masters in Marketing and Communications from the Sorbonne University in Paris. In the past 25 years she has worked in for-profit and not-for profit organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières and the YMCA. The Board said good-bye to and thanked Samantha Boissy, the interim Director, for her outstanding contribution to AFS during the past 7 years.

The Board of AFS Netherlands thanked Liesbeth Molenaar for her professionalism and dedication in pursuing the AFS mission in her role as National Director over the past 6 years. Koen Wijnhoven, Programme Director, will replace Liesbeth during the transitional period until a new Director has been appointed.

Jona Fanney Fridriksdottir, National Director of AFS Iceland has decided to leave her position, after four years as National Director.  Jona Fanney has been an AFS team member for over 30 years, taking on many different roles. The Board of AFS Iceland has hired Jona’s successor, Guðmundur Gunnarsson, who started on 1 September 2015. Guðmundur has a degree in Media and a master degree in International Business. He was a reporter on TV channel 1 for years. For the last five years he has been the Director of the international sales department for 66 North (local outdoor brand). Guðmundur is new to AFS but spent a year as a volunteer in Honduras.

In AFS Croatia Dubravka Filipec has now officially taken over from Boris Najdenovski as National Director, starting as of 1 October.

Fatma Akgün, the National Director of AFS Turkey left her position on 31 August. After 8 years of service Fatma will be remembered for her valuable contributions to the organisation and AFS community at large. Ms Derya Komitoglu is taking over the role of new Partner Director. She will also hold the Associate Manager position in the foundation, Türk Kültür Vakfı (TKV). Derya has been working with AFS Turkey since 2003.

Furthermore the office informs that Istanbul hosts 3 EVA chapters who are actively developing exchanges within Europe. In July, EVA Chapter 3 organised a first exchange with Brussels, Belgium, and EVA Chapter 1 hosted its first sister group from Limburg, Belgium. The next sister group will be coming from Belgrade, Serbia, in April 2016. Chapter 2 organised its first visit to Limburg , Belgium in August. If you would like to organise an EVA exchange or you need further information on how EVAs work in Turkey, please contact Anıl Akın from [email protected].

From AFS Belgium French comes the news that Elodie Wilbaux, hosting coordinator for the past 2.5 years, had her last day in the office on 30 September. Elodie plans to stay on as an AFS volunteer and get more involved as trainer. In the meantime Elodie’s successor started working in the office. Elsa Boonen has been an active AFS volunteer and participant to a number of International training events over the past 6 years.

AFS Germany informed the network that Henni Weiser, Director of Programme Innovation and Strategic Alliances, is leaving the organisation. An AFS returnee herself, Henni joined the organisation in 2002 to lead the development efforts in expanding programme activities within Southeastern Europe. In the years to follow, Henni took over the role as Assistant to the National Director, became later Director of Strategic Cooperations and – after returning from her second parental leave – Director of Programme Innovation and Strategic Alliances. Henni’s last days will be 9 October.

In AFS Switzerland Corinna Bütikofer, Sending Support Coordinator left AFS at the end of September. Irene Schaerer, who was the interim Sending Support Coordinator during Corinna’s maternity leave in the first half of 2015, will take over the position.

The office further announced that in 2015 the exchange of apprentices has been chosen as a best practice project for the final report of the European Commission on “Building knowledge on international cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)”. The AFS exchange year for apprentices was chosen as a case study because it was a cooperation activity aimed at individuals; for the European Commission this is an example of a privately funded and organised programme, launched on the initiative of the business sector. You can find the study of the European Commission at: Study and Annexes (AFS Switzerland described on pages 315-322)