Global Office Team

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Kea Hoppe

Secretary General (Interim) YFU Global Office

Kea Hoppe is the Deputy Director of YFU’s Global Office and the Director of Programs & Products, located in Brussels, Belgium. In her current role, she is responsible for effectively ensuring program quality, managing program capacities and strengthening and enhancing existing and developing new programs and products, to meet the needs of our customers and enhance our impact globally. Kea holds a master's degree in Psychology from the University of Göttingen, Germany, the country she is originally from. Having been a YFU exchange student herself, she loves working with passionate colleagues from around the globe for a cause she truly believes in. She has been involved with YFU as a staff member since 2006, first working for YFU Germany in different management positions before moving to the international level of YFU in January 2017. Until January 2019, she was the Director of EEE-YFU, the umbrella organization of YFU in Europe, making her even more a believer in active global citizenship than before.

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Livia Honorato

Global Program Coordinator

Livia is the Global Program Coordinator at the Global Office. In this role she supports member organizations with programs related tasks/questions, such as health insurance, system support, new programs’ development and mediation between partners. She was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she is currently based.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Marketing Specialist certificate from UCLA, California. Her father was a YFU exchange student, what motivated her to become one herself, in Germany. Since 2005, she has been a volunteer, host-family, intern for YFU Estonia and Outbound Coordinator for YFU Brazil. To be part of a big and noble cause is what keeps her motivated to work with YFU. 

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Bent Richter

Director Global IT

Bent leads the Global IT department in order to build strong IT backbone operations for YFU member organizations worldwide. Starting out as a YFU exchange student he has been involved with YFU ever since - as volunteer, host parent as well as co-founder and long time Director of YFU in Austria. He values working for YFU because it is a place where professional work can make a true difference to people’s lives. Among other degrees he holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

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Airika Torn

IT Systems and Product Manager

Airika works at the Global Office as an IT Systems and Product Manager. She carries out her daily duties in Estonia, where she has lived all her life. She came in contact with YFU in 2013, when she first opened her home to an exchange student from Germany. To date, Airika has been a host mom four times, her own child has been involved in an exchange year. Prior to joining the Global Office, Airika has been working with YFU Estonia over the last 3,5 years as a Volunteer Coordinator. Before joining YFU, she has worked in the private sector in different positions related to business development, supplier relations and services improvement. An economist by education, she successfully built IT infrastructures for several companies in a results-oriented and customer-focused way. With her educational and experiential background, she is an economist who likes to solve real-life puzzles in organizations.

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Joanne Halbardier

Membership & Governance Manager

Joanne is the Membership & Governance Manager of Youth For Understanding’s (YFU) Global Office. She was born in New York, and raised and educated on the east coast of the US. Currently based in Washington, DC, she supports and coordinates YFU international governance functions, including International Board activities, the International Contingency and Development Fund and its grantee and trustee activities, international General Assembly functions, Member Organization processes and communications and Global Office operations.  Joanne has worked for YFU in a variety of capacities, including all aspects of program delivery for the YFU organization in the US. Previous to YFU, Joanne worked in the area of university programs - recruitment, promotion and administration. She volunteers her time to causes important to her – Alzheimer’s prevention, social justice and voting rights. Joanne is a global citizen who believes wholeheartedly in the mission of YFU and how it’s now more necessary than ever. She took part in a cultural exchange to the United Kingdom shortly after graduating from university. But it’s the people of YFU who keep her interest - she particularly loves working with a diversity of cultures and their different professional approaches. “There are not enough fingers on my hands to count the lifelong friends I’ve made because of and through YFU!”

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Herman Wiedemann

Risk & Compliance Manager

Herman Wiedemann is the Risk & Compliance Manager of YFU’s Global Office, located in Brussels, Belgium. In his current role, he is responsible for monitoring member organizations’ performance and compliance, supporting members’ organizational development and further developing YFU’s crisis and risk management. Herman was an exchange student to California, USA and as returnee became actively engaged first as a YFU volunteer, then as office staff for YFU Uruguay and later on intern for YFU Austria till he joined the former International Secretariat of YFU IES in Washington DC for 2 years. Before joining the Global Office he was the National Director for YFU Uruguay. He holds a degree in Political Sciences and Economics from the University of the Republic of Uruguay, the country he is originally from. Herman has experienced living in 5 different countries and sees himself as a true citizen of the world!

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Marzena Gawenda

Training Director

Marzena is the Training Director in EEE-YFU where she designs and implements training courses and capacity-building projects for YFU volunteers and staff. Her responsibilities include obtaining funds and grant-writing for educational projects as well as managing the European Trainer Network. Originally from Poland, she has lived, worked and studied in Italy and Spain and is currently based in Belgium. Marzena is not only a trainer, coach and facilitator, but also an art therapist, deeply interested in body-mind-soul connection. She has extensive volunteer experience in NGOs, including AEGEE, SIETAR, First Light India, and Toastmasters.  Working with YFU makes it possible for her to be the witness of countless a-ha moments and transformations during training courses, international friendships being forged and exceptional ideas turning into sustainable projects. Marzena holds an MA in Ethnolinguistics and a post-master specialisation in Art Therapy, Forum Theatre and Vedic Art. She has over 15 years of practice in the Training Field and her work experience ranges from designing educational projects for NGOs to organising strategic retreats and teambuilding activities for businesses, to running transformative personal retreats for individuals.

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Andreea Madar

Projects Coordinator

Andreea comes from Romania and she was an exchange student with YFU in Germany in 2011/2012. She speaks 5 languages and has many hobbies: skiing, graphic design and tennis to name the most important. She holds a Bachelor diploma in European Studies and International Relations from the Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca and a Masters in Political Strategy and Communication at the University of Kent. During her studies in Brussels, she has been working with EEE-YFU supporting Educational Activities, and has also been involved in Advocacy and developing promotional materials.

She is now living in Brussels and coordinating the biggest event in YFU, the Young European’s Seminar (YES), which brings together 600 YFU students and volunteers yearly. Aside from this, she is supporting the Marketing and Branding department in the Global Office.

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Panagiotis Chatzimichail

Advocacy & Projects Coordinator

Panagiotis is the Advocacy and Projects Coordinator of YFU’s Global Office, located in Brussels.  In his current role, additionally to project coordination, he supports YFU’s Global Office in influencing policy relevant for the mission of YFU and positioning YFU as an expert and partner in intercultural learning. He is originally from Cyprus and have lived in 3 different countries before Brussels, namely in Czech Republic, Germany and Spain. Being part of YFU really builds on his passion to make a change. Panagiotis is a holder of a master’s degree in Political Science (European Dimension), focusing on policy making and international organizations. Moreover, he has worked on advocacy related to youth and education, GDPR procedures, organisation - membership and network development. Before coming to YFU, he had the pleasure and honor to work or cooperate with civil society organizations for more than 10 years. Some, that he has been actively involved with, are AEGEE, ACCEPT LGBT Cyprus, ESN, Cypriot NYC, LLLP, YEU and YFJ.

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Anzhela Kim

Finance and Administration Manager

Anzhela is Finance and Administration Manager of Youth For Understanding’s (YFU) Global Office, a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Belgium Institute of Accounting professionals and Tax Experts. Since 2008, she is dedicated to supporting non-profit sector working for differents international NGO’s in Brussels. She was attracted by YFU , and want effectivelly contribute to the work of YFU work to strength youth international educational and cultural exchanges, and make the world your home.

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Raluca Dudu

Marketing Director

Raluca works for the YFU Global Office since January 2019. She has extensive experience with Marketing and Communication gained in over 10 year of working in the private sector. At the moment Raluca is on maternity leave, and will back in the Global Office in February 2020.