A first generation American of East Indian heritage, Ritu Sharma's family left behind generations of violence and poverty in Punjab, India to build a new life in the United States. Her family’s legacy and her first-hand experience of the injustices suffered by women, combined with her strong belief that American citizens must ensure that the U.S. acts positively in the world, led Ritu to create Women Thrive Worldwide in 1998.
Ritu is an adept coalition builder, political strategist and communicator who has led numerous advocacy campaigns to success. In 1995 she led a coalition of more than 100 organizations to influence the United Nations Summit on Social Development. Ritu also served on the official United States delegation to the Summit and later on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Session on Women, also known as “Beijing Plus Five.” She continues to build and grow diverse coalitions that link women’s organizations from around the world with U.S. businesses, think tanks, and NGOs to rally their efforts to help women in poverty.
Ritu holds a BSFS in international economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of An Introduction to Advocacy: A Training Guide, which has been translated into six languages and is a primary reference for advocates around the globe. She serves on the Board of Directors of InterAction and the Center for Global Engagement. Ritu is also a founding member of Pax World Mutual Funds Women’s Advisory Council.
Ritu Sharma lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her two sons, Kai and Raam, and their Portuguese Water Dog, Rio.