Our Team

Dr. Darla Deardorff
Founding President, Executive Team
Dr. Darla K. Deardorff is Executive Director of the Association of International Education Administrators, a leadership organization. She is also a research fellow at Duke University. She has worked in the international education field for over twenty-five years & previously held positions at North Carolina State University & the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill where she has had experience in study abroad, international student services, cultural programming, & ESL teaching/teacher training. Founder of ICC Global, a global research network on intercultural competence, as well as the World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence, she has lived, taught & worked in Germany, Japan, & Switzerland.
Fran Baxter
Executive Team
Fran is the co-founder and executive director of Value Learning. Fran is an educator who has developed intercultural programs for audiences across Australia and internationally. Fran holds a B. Adult and Vocational Education and has trained trainers and assessors for accredited learning in Australia. She has developed government projects for international education related to Indonesia, China and India, and designed the International Student Forum. Fran was previously the CEO of AFS Australia.
Didem Ekici
Executive Team, Coordinator, Working Group Support Team
Didem has worked in K-12 and higher education in the US and overseas for almost 20 years. She earned a doctoral degree on International and Multicultural Education from University of San Francisco, and her dissertation research was on intercultural competence development through online language teaching. She currently serves in the leadership team of a non-profit organization- Pax Populi- that aims to build peace through virtual exchange, language teaching and intercultural communication. Besides teaching at University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University, she is also a faculty member and department co-chair in the ESOL Department in College of Alameda. Her research interests are online language teaching, intercultural competence, peacebuilding, equity and digital divide, and teacher training.
Dr. Yovana S. Veerasamy
Editor, Intercultural Connector
Dr. S-Veerasamy, is a consultant & researcher in higher education. Her professional experience includes teaching and advising international students in the U.S. community college sector. Winner of the Comparative International Education Society, HESIG Best Dissertation Award, her research focuses on U.S. Internationalization policy in the 2000s. She has working experience with the adaptation of intercultural competence in online delivery of education and services including VE/COIL. She believes in promoting peace in the world through intercultural understanding, diplomacy and cooperation.
Stephan van de Van
Community Engagement
Stephan, raised in the Netherlands, living somewhere in Europe, is an Interculturalist like all of us. Graduated from the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France and has an MA in Intercultural Management. He is a ‘hands-on-kinda-guy' that supports us by maintaining our community platform and in his career trains, coaches and facilitates dialogues for young people and teams. He is always open to a conversation and is eager to engage in new endeavors with like-minded people like yourselves. He enjoys the great outdoors, but even more so dance, music, capoeira, videogames and books.
Hayley Pottle
Web Team Support
Hayley is dedicated to providing leadership development experiences in cross-cultural mentoring. She serves as the Program Manager for TechGirls, U.S. Department of State initiative and Education Consultant for the University of Richmond. She previously worked in Jordan where she acted as the Project Development Manager for Hopes for Women in Education. Hayley holds a Bachelor of Science degree from VCU in Mass Communications and Business Studies and is currently earning her Master of Arts in International Education and Development at the George Washington University.
Johanna El Ouardy
Johanna El Ouardy is passionate about connecting people across languages and cultures. She pursued this passion in different ways during her undergraduate studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology and her current work on her MA in Intercultural German Studies / Teaching German as a Foreign Language. What both have in common is the strong focus on intercultural communication and competence. In addition to her studies, Johanna completed a certification program as a trainer for intercultural qualifications at universities, and has been designing, developing, and delivering intercultural trainings and virtual exchange formats for university students at several higher ed institutions since 2018. In her academic and practical work, she is committed to enable students deal constructively with intercultural situations, on site and in international contexts. Currently, she is particularly interested in how experiential learning methodology and reflection can be used to foster the development of intercultural competencies in collaborative virtual exchange formats.