Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service

MessingerRuth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. Ruth came to AJWS in 1998 after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. Under Ruth’s leadership, AJWS has granted more than $230 million to promote human rights in the developing world and has launched campaigns to end the Darfur genocide, reform international food aid, stop violence against women and LGBT people, end land grabs and respond to natural disasters worldwide. A tireless advocate and social change visionary, Ruth mobilizes faith-based communities throughout the U.S. to speak out on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities around the globe. She currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice and is a member of the World Bank’s Moral Imperative working group on extreme poverty. Ruth lectures widely on global justice issues and has been honored for her leadership with awards from many national Jewish organizations and honorary degrees from five major American rabbinical seminaries. Most recently, she was the 2015 recipient of the InterAction Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award. Ruth is regularly included on notable media lists: She was named on of the 10 most inspiring women religious leaders of 2012 by The Huffington Post; the 6th most influential Jew in the world by The Jerusalem Post; and has been listed annually on The Jewish Daily Forward’s “Forward 50” for nearly a decade. Ruth is an active member of her congregation, the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, and serves on the boards of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Hazon, United to End Genocide, InterAction, and Surprise Lake Camp. She holds a B.A. from Radcliffe College and an M.S.W. from the University of Oklahoma. She is married to Andrew Lachman and has three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.