President & Chairman
Birger Bäckman has a long career spanning over 50 years in the travel and tourism industry, holding managerial positions at airlines, travel agencies, tour operators and cruise companies in Finland, Sweden and Germany before joining UFTAA as C.E.O 1997 to retirement in 2005 , continuing as Senior Advisor to the Board until 2009. He is still active as an independent industry consultant.
Mr. Bäckman has served in numerous committees and working groups within the industry both nationally, regionally and internationally. In 1989-90 he was World President of AISC with 24,000 members in the tourism industry and 1988-1992 he was Chairman of the Helsinki International Travel Fair (MATKA) - the largest travel fair in the Nordic countries.
A Finnish national, he graduated from Helsinki University as Master of Political Science (M.Pol.Sc,) with degrees in Political science, Macro economy, Sociology and Social Politics as well as exams in International law.
For his contribution to the tourism industry Mr. Bäckman has received “Medalla al Merito Turistico” from Spain and is Cavaliere dell’Ordine “Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana”. In 1977 he received the “Premio della Solidarieta” from the Italian Centre of Art and Culture.
David Short has served as Senior Attorney, Regulatory & International Affairs for Federal Express Corporation since June 2003. In this capacity, he handles relations with governments in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, and Canada and has responsibility for a number of U.S. Government regulatory matters. Prior to joining Federal Express, Mr. Short was Director of the IATA Legal Department, based in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 1997. He played a prominent role in the development of IATA’s October 2000 application to ICANN to sponsor the “.travel” Internet Top Level Domain.
Before joining IATA, Mr. Short was with the Washington, D.C. office of the U.S. law firm Baker & Hostetler, and prior to that he was Director-Taxation for British Airways, based in New York. Mr. Short received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, summa cum laude, and went on to receive Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Southern California, where he was Editor of the Law Review. He is a Member of the District of Columbia Bar.
CPA, Corporate Secretary & Treasurer
Geraldine Berkowitz has worked for theglobe.com as controller for the past five years. Prior to theglobe.com, Geraldine worked in both the rental and accounting areas of Enterprise Rent A Car from 1990 to 2003, most recently as Accounting Manager.
Geraldine received a Bachelor of Business in Management from Florida International University and a Masters in Accounting from Florida Atlantic University and is a Certified Public Accountant.