Honorable Don Ritter, Sc. D.
||Member of Congress, Pennsylvania -15, Lehigh Valley, 1979-1993
||Founder and Chairman, Afghanistan – America Foundation, 1996 - 2003
||Executive Committee (Founding Board Member), Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) 2002 - present
||Senior Advisor to AACC and the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC), now merged with the Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), 2004 and 2005
President &CEO, Afghan American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Feb. 2009 to present
As one of the
leading congressional proponents of U.S. assistance to the people
of Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and occupation, Don Ritter
continues his effort today via economic and private sector solutions
to Afghanistan's problems. Don Ritter, formerly Chairman of the
Washington, D.C.-based, Afghanistan - America Foundation and presently
a founder and a member of the Executive Committee
and President” of the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce and Senior Advisor to the Afghan International
Chamber of Commerce, Ritter seeks to help build these organizations
into national and international vehicles that will help to bring
stability and prosperity to Afghanistan. Don also wears the hat
of private businessman and investor in Afghanistan and is active
in the areas of consumer services, construction, materials and tourism.
Congressman Don Ritter was a leader of the American effort to help
the people of Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, working closely
with Afghan community and resistance leaders here and abroad. He
was the first member of Congress to act publicly, using his position
as senior member of the Congressional Helsinki Commission to engage
that body in the Afghan human rights and policy debate. He authored
seminal legislation to aid the Afghan resistance and organized the
Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan. In this capacity, he helped
lead the fight in Congress for humanitarian and military aid to
the people of Afghanistan.
In Congress, Don Ritter organized a series of historic meetings
of Task Force Members with top governmental officials having responsibility
for the Afghan assistance program. The Congressional Task Force
on Afghanistan played a major role in moving U.S. policy towards
a higher level of positive and practical involvement that helped
free Afghanistan from the Soviet military occupation.
The Afghanistan - America Foundation was, during critical years
in the 1990s, the only high level body in America to give consistent
voice, both public and private, to the cause of freedom for Afghanistan.
Today, Don Ritter believes that the time has come for the same kind
of energetic U.S. policy and influence that helped free the people
of Afghanistan from the grip of Soviet occupation, Communism and
the Taliban, applied to reconstruction of the country. He believes
strongly that a market economy and an entrepreneurial private sector
is critical to achieving stability, that the terrible violence and
division that have pervaded the country can be reduced by virtue
of economic growth
that benefits the broad breadth of Afghan citizenry.