Background on AFS
- AFS Intercultural Programs is a global non-profit organization which pursues the goal of intercultural learning and understanding through immersive student exchanges and online development opportunities. It operates through an international office in New York and national member organizations in over 55 countries worldwide.
- In Switzerland, AFS is organized as a non-profit organization in the legal form of an Association (Verein) headquartered in Zurich. Membership is generally open to anybody. The annual General Assembly of members (GA) is the highest body of the organization.
- AFS is a volunteer-driven organization, which means that the Board and the national office are providing the framework within which volunteers (often returnees from student exchanges) drive mostly regional activities for Swiss and visiting students and host families.
- The national office consists of around 25 permanent and temporary employees sharing approx. 13 full-time equivalents, plus 2-3 internships. The National Director is responsible for all operations.
- The national Board is the leading strategic and oversight body and consists of 5 to 8 persons with specific thematic profiles. They are elected by the GA for two-year terms and are unpaid volunteers. The Board members in each profile are primarily the strategic drivers of the respective topics and not responsible for operations.
General Board member responsibilities
- Board members actively drive the overall strategy as a group, as well as independently within their assigned Board Responsibility Areas (BRA), advising and supporting the operational team. Pro-activity and co-creation is expected.
- Formal compulsory meetings:
- One Board meeting per Quarter (four per year), usually evenings (Zoom or in-person)
- Attendance at annual GA in early April (2024: Saturday, 6 April)
- One strategy off-site (Saturday-Sunday, 25/26 May, 2024)
- Optional attendance:
- General topics: interim ad-hoc Board meetings (about every one to three months depending on current events)
- Appointed board responsibility areas: bilateral meetings and conversations (average of approx. 4 hours a month)
- Occasionally join volunteer events, e.g. volunteer training, host family calls, chapter events etc.
- Legal responsibilities:
- Board members implement the decisions and direction given by the GA to the best of their knowledge and abilitites and are accountable to the GA.
- Board members can be held accountable summarily for limited financial obligations.
Specific profiles for Board Succession 2024: one board member sought
Priority profiles (for election at GA 2024, 6 April):
- Education: A person from inside or outside AFS SUI with an understanding of educational concepts to co-drive the strategic imperative of positioning AFS as an educational organization. A strong network in the educational field (academia and schools) is desirable.
- Entrepreneurship: A person from inside or outside AFS with knowledge and experience in the entrepreneurial, organizational, and/or finance field and ideally with a network of corporate and non-profit funders. Can be combined with skills in finance, strategy, and/or organizational development.
Combinations of the above profiles are possible.