Russell Hedge


Russell Hedge is the Chief Executive Officer of Hostelling International USA (HI-USA), the national nonprofit organization that operates hostels and related cross-cultural programs across the United States. It is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, outside of Washington DC, and is the USA affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) based in London, England.

The HI-USA mission is “To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling”. It delivers its mission by making hostels available for affordable travel and offering programs that promote interaction and friendship across cultures. HI-USA also operates and to advance the mission and use of hostels by individuals and groups alike.

Hedge has served in his present position since 2000. He advanced through the ranks of HI-USA where he began 15 years earlier as a volunteer who helped to develop the hostel currently serving Washington DC, and subsequently served as Executive Director of the Washington DC area chapter. Prior to becoming CEO also served the national organization as Chief Operating Officer of HI-USA. His early career focused on economics and finance at the US Economic Development Administration and US International Trade Administration, with stints at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Senate Budget Committee.

Hedge’s interest in the hostel stay experience emerged during an educational leave of absence from a government position to study at Oxford University, when he observed the quality of cross-cultural interactions at hostels and the influence of travel as experiential education.

The HI-USA hostel network is consistently recognized as one of the best in world through customer surveys by IYHF and independent rating agencies. Hedge has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences on topics ranging from experiential education to nonprofit management.

A native of Wisconsin, Hedge received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his Masters degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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