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Management Board Members

Jason Merrithew is President of Merit Travel, one of Canada’s largest speciality travel companies. In addition to the flagship brand, Jason also has responsibility for Travelcuts, a leading millennial travel brand and Exclusive Tours, a wholesale cruise partner to other travel agencies in Canada. A graduate of Queen’s University, Jason has worked extensively in the Canadian travel industry, holding roles in marketing, business development, events and operations.  The current Chair of the Management Board for the World Youth, Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation, Jason believes that youth travel has the power to expand the horizons of young people around the world and create more tolerate societies.

Jason Merrithew - Chair

President, Merit Travel

Carye Duffin

Cultural Exchange – Chair

Senior Director, External Relations | Council on International Educational Exchange

I began my career in international educational exchange in 1999, joining the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Now in my eighteenth year with CIEE, I consider myself fortunate to still be doing what I love best – managing relationships with clients around the world and working to promote a shared cultural understanding.

Over the past 18 years, I have held various management positions at CIEE as we moved from New York to Boston to our current US headquarters in Portland, Maine. My professional background at CIEE includes crisis management, operations, human resources, sales and marketing. These various roles have given me a great foundation for my current role, Senior Director of External Relations, a position that I have held since 2015.

Prior to joining CIEE, I earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  My experiences also include working in the field of counseling, as well as teaching and working abroad in both the UK and Germany.

As the Senior Director of our International Sales division for Exchange Programs, I oversee our global agent network of over 150 agents in more than 120 countries. Specifically, I oversee all of the relationships with our international representatives, sales/marketing initiatives, as well as embassy relations for the J1 High School, F1 High School, Summer Work Travel, Internship/Trainee, and Camp Counselor programs.

I have very much enjoyed sitting on the WYSE Work Abroad Association Executive Board since 2010, as well as being the Chair from 2014-2016. Further, I have also had the pleasure of sitting on the WYSE Management Board since 2014. After the recent restructure, I am thrilled to continue as the Chair of the WYSE Cultural Exchange Sector Panel, as well as continue to sit on the WYSE Management Board.

Manel Bassols

Study Abroad – Chair

Director | CETT – Àgora BCN

It has been 40 years that I work for youth tourism field, from different sides: as a professor at CETT, the School of Tourism and Hotel Management of the University of Barcelona, as a Director of its Foundation (a non for profit organization) and as a Director of Agora BCN, an International Students Residence at the service of the University Community and the youth.

I’m member of WYSE Travel Confederation, the Accomodation Panel Study Abroad Panel since 2009  and I have had the pleasure of being the Host Chair at WYSTC Barcelona 2011 where I worked with all the WYSTC Team, with the purpose  of giving our best and make it a successful event.

I’ve also had the pleasure of being member of the Executive Board of the Confederation since WYSTC Sydney’13. I’ve been working with the E.B. Team and the WYSETC Team with the large and successful transformation we’ve just made of our organisation, making WYSETC more clear, efficient, operative and up to date.

And, once those changes have been made, we need to consolidate them with this new Management Board.

Last but not least, as I said, I come from the education sector and I think it’s very important to develop this sector inside the Confederation.

Jochen Ostermann

Travel Safety – Chair

President | Global Secutive, LLC

David Dahl, President and Founder of The foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange(WISE FOUNDATION) Dave has grown the Wise Foundation strategically over the last 29 years. He has served 3 terms on the Executive Board, and one term as Board Chair. Dave has a degree in Education from Pacific Lutheran University and has been active in International education for over 30 years. Dave firmly believes that International travel and education programs are the key element for the stimulation of economic development throughout the world. The participation of emerging markets in cultural exchange, education and youth travel are vital to the economic engine of the world economy.

Pieter van der Zeeuw

Accommodation – Chair

Managing Director | Hans Brinker Budget Hotel

I joined the advisory panel last year because I would like  to contribute to our industry from an independent hostel operator point of view. My wish is that my contribution will help other hostel operators to improve their way of operating and have a broader view of the youth travel industry.

Dave Dahl

Finance and Audit Committee – Chair

President | WISE Foundation

Raised both in Germany and the United States Jochen has a great appreciation for the educational value that travel provides for young people. In 2007, after working in the international tourism industry, Jochen co-founded Secutive with the aim to offer a wide range of insurance products to serve the international cultural exchange and educational travel market.

As a member of the management board for WYSE Jochen strives to support the people that he has worked side by side with for more than a decade. Keeping up with the changing landscape of world travel and the trends of emerging youth are critical to the success of the industry. Bringing organizations together to share ideas and learn advances the goal of furthering a mutual understanding between people of the world.

Although Secutive is an insurance firm, Jochen knows it is important for the Secutive team to understand the market they service and the objectives of global exchange. He ensures the team is engaged and informed.

Currently living in the US, Jochen and his family remain avid travelers splitting much of their time between family in both Germany and Nicaragua.

“Cultural exchange has always played a very important role throughout my personal and professional life. I am honored to serve on the WYSE board.”

Russ Hedge

Member at large
President & CEO | Hostelling International USA

Finance and Audit Committee

Astrid Ludemann

Independent Financial Auditor

Director, Financial Investigations | Kroll

Astrid was born and raised in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She has a degree in accountancy from Stellenbosch University and is a qualified chartered accountant and certified fraud examiner. She completed her training contract in Cape Town where she worked in the external audit department of Deloitte for three years. After a brief stint living in Luxembourg, she moved to London in 2014, when she currently lives. She works for Kroll, an international consultancy firm, specialising in corporate investigations.

Outside of work, Astrid loves to make the most of what London has to offer, and also loves the convenience of being a short flight away from many great European cities.

 I believe in the importance of travel as it allows people to get to know other cultures and have different and eye-opening experiences. I can personally attest to this, having lived in two cities outside of my home country while in my 20’s. Travel is one of the best ways to learn about yourself and others around you. It teaches you to become independent and to be more accepting of others. It’s amazing to have these experiences when you’re young as they’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.”