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“From Discrimination to Dignity: Standing with Women, Girls and LGBT People Worldwide”

Violence devastates the lives of millions of women and girls across every nation and culture. An estimated one out of every three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In some countries, the numbers are even more devastating, with seven in 10 women experiencing significant forms of violence. In November 2013, members of the U.S. government introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), a crucial piece of legislation that, if signed into law, will protect the rights of women and girls worldwide. Join Ruth Messinger to learn what we can do, as members of faith-based traditions, to ensure that women and girls around the world live with safety and dignity.

Ruth W. Messinger is the 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. She joined AJWS in 1998 to continue her lifelong pursuit of social justice, helping people around the world improve the quality of their lives and their communities.

During Ruth’s 20-year career in public service in New York City, she served for 12 years on the New York City Council and eight as Manhattan borough president. She was the first woman to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor in 1997.

Considered a national leader in the movement to end the genocide in Sudan, Ruth has been called upon several times to advise President Obama about creating a sustainable path toward peace in that country. In recognition of her leadership, she has served on the Obama administration’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development and currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.

Ruth has been honored for her inspirational work by many national Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Women’s Funding Network, the Union for Reform Judaism and the American Jewish Committee. She has also received honorary degrees from four major American rabbinical seminaries. In recognition of her work, Ruth has been named one of the Forward’s “50 most influential Jews of the year” for 10 years.

She lectures widely on diverse social and global justice issues. Ruth has served as a visiting professor at Hunter College and Hebrew Union College and is currently a member of the Union for Reform Judaism faculty. She is an active member of her congregation, the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, and serves on the boards of CIFA Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty), Hazon, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (emeritus), United to End Genocide, Interaction and Surprise Lake Camp. She is a member of the Leadership Council of Repair the World and the Executive Committee of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.

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