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Responsibility in a Global Age: Leadership Lessons from a Lifetime

Responsibility in a Global Age: Leadership Lessons from a Lifetime

Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 2:00 pm


Spertus Institute welcomed leading human rights activist Ruth Messinger to share leadership lessons gleaned from her decades on the front lines of global issues.

What are a leader’s most important characteristics? What challenges do leaders of social and political institutions face—and what are the skills to solve them? In today’s global world, when must leaders take broad responsibility for driving change?

Ruth Messinger AJWS photo by Christine HanRuth Messinger served for 18 years as President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international human rights and development organization promoting social justice in the developing world.

Under her remarkable leadership, AJWS grew exponentially—granting more than $270 million to promote human rights in the developing world and launching campaigns to end the Darfur genocide, reform international food aid, stop violence against women and LGBT people, and respond to natural disasters around the globe. In her current role as AJWS Global Ambassador, she continues her crucial work of engaging rabbis and interfaith leaders to advocate for global social justice.

Messinger is a member of the World Bank’s Moral Imperative Task Force to End Extreme Poverty. She works to advance activism in the Jewish community as the inaugural Social Justice Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Social Justice Activist-in-Residence at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.

She was named one of the 10 most inspiring women religious leaders by The Huffington Post and cited as the sixth most influential Jew in the world by The Jerusalem Post.

A panel discussion and reception followed in which experts addressed leadership skills needed to responsibly navigate organizational turnarounds.

  • Dr. Richard Lariviere, President and CEO, Field Museum
  • Dr. Hal M. Lewis, Chancellor, Former President and CEO, Spertus Institute and Principal, Leadership for Impact 
  • Caren Yanis, moderator, Philanthropic Adviser and Principal, Croland Consulting and Former President, Crown Family Philanthropies

Image top: Ruth Messinger in Haiti. Photo by Morgan Soloski/AJWS.


Center for Jewish Leadership Symposium

This annual symposium was for business and nonprofit professionals, funders, volunteers, students, and anyone who cares about breaking down barriers to solve the tough challenges of today.

Center for Jewish Leadership

Designed for professionals and
volunteers who work for and with
Jewish organizations, the Center
for Jewish Leadership
opportunities to learn new skills,
hone existing talents, and gain
the expertise to foster a vibrant
Jewish future. Offerings include:

  • Graduate Degree Programs
  • Certificate Programs
  • Master Classes and Workshops
  • Lay Leadership Academy
  • Annual Leadership Symposium
  • Innovation & Collaboration Awards

The Center for Jewish Leadership is supported by a generous grant from the Crown Family. We are grateful for their support.