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Austria official, Christine Marek, to open Work Experience Travel Market and IAPA Annual Conference

( VIENNA, Austria – Ms. Christine Marek, the Austria State Secretary will open the Work Experience Travel Market and International Au Pair Association Annual Conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Vienna, Wednesday, March 25.

Recognizing the role of international cultural and educational exchanges as a tool in preparing young people for the global workplace, as well as the intrinsic benefit of au pairing in strengthening family values by creating expanded global families, Ms. Marek has graciously agreed to address the industry-only conference. Ms. Marek’s presence underscores the high priority given to youth activities by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth.

“I'm honored that this conference takes place in the wonderful city of Vienna in Austria, and I welcome this international exchange of ideas focusing on exchange programs," said Ms. Marek. “Part of it is the possibility to participate as an Au Pair all over the world. It may be a challenge, but on the other hand, also one of the most wonderful opportunities to experience other countries and cultures. I would like to encourage young people to take this chance," said the Austria State Secretary.

Now in its sixth year, the Work Experience Travel Market and International Au Pair Association Annual Conference is devoted exclusively to organizations that provide cultural exchange and work and study programs such as Au Pair placements, internships, gap year, and volunteer programs. The b2b event brings together some 200 organizations from 40 plus countries around the world for three days of trade, networking, and a sector-only focused seminar program.

An integral part of the conference is its providing a forum for the betterment of the cultural exchange community. During the event, its organizers, the WYSE Work Abroad Association and International Au Pair Association, facilitate discussions on developing best practices and the setting of standards and guidelines for their respective sectors, bringing the industry’s key stakeholders together under one roof to improve and grow the industry.

Elizabeth O’Neill, chairman of the WYSE Work Abroad Association – the event’s co-organizer - said: “Cross-cultural traineeships, internships, volunteering, or being an au pair can play an important role in preparing a young person for the global job market, as international experience becomes an increasingly key skill to possess in today’s workforce. The organizations that attend our event provide these placements and create these opportunities for young people. Facilitating discussions that help these companies and the industry improve its product, as well as providing a forum for the development of their programs and business is an important part of why we meet each year.”

Jack Hompes, chairman of the International Au Pair Association, (IAPA) - co-organizer of the event - continued: “The industry is the focus at our event. We look to provide attendees with not only the tools to better their own business, but importantly, to encourage discussions and forums for bettering the cultural exchange community as a whole. We appreciate very much Ms. Marek and her country’s support for the conference and their recognition of the incredible value of cultural exchange.”

The Work Experience Travel Market and International Au Pair Association Annual Conference will take place at the InterContinental Hotel in Vienna, Austria, March 25-27, 2009.

Conference organizers IAPA and WYSE Work Abroad Association both operate under the umbrella of the WYSE Travel Confederation, a 550-plus member organization that is the global voice of the youth, student, and educational travel community.

Andrew Singer Email:

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