To cultivate and promote innovative collaboration across urban/rural divides in American society through domestic exchange and educational training programs.


AmerXchange envisions the next generation of American leaders collaborating with peers who come from vastly different backgrounds, and confidently sharing knowledge to produce innovative solutions to common problems in America.

Leadership Team

Ruth Gopin, Founder & President

Ruth Gopin is a graduate of McGill University, where she received a degree in International Development Studies and Management. Ruth has spent time living overseas, working for conflict transformation and development non-profit organizations in Sri Lanka and Jerusalem. Ruth has also consulted for Ashoka, a global social entrepreneurship organization based out of Arlington, Virginia, and currently consults for the World Faith Development Dialogue. AmerXchange grew out of her experiences collaborating on international teams, and knowledge that so many opportunities for young people to collaborate across societal divides were not yet being cultivated within the United States.


Marc Gopin, PhD

Marc Gopin is the James H. Laue Professor of Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, and the Director of the Center on Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Arlington, Virginia. Marc has lectured on conflict resolution in Switzerland, Ireland, India, Italy, and Israel, as well as at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and numerous other academic institutions. Marc has also trained thousands of people worldwide in peacemaking strategies for complex conflicts in which religion and culture play a role. He conducts research on values dilemmas as they apply to international problems of globalization, clash of cultures, development, social justice and conflict, and is the author of five books.

Melissa Wolfe, MS

Melissa Wolfe is United Way Worldwide’s Director of Governance.  She is responsible for governance strategies for the global network and she manages the work of United Way’s Worldwide and U.S.A. National Boards.  She also provides technical assistance to United Way’s members and international partners in 41 countries and territories. In 2013, Melissa was chosen as one of 24 America’s Leaders of Change by the National Urban Fellows.

David J. Smith, JD, MS

David J. Smith is the president of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc.. He has worked with higher education and professional groups to promote conflict resolution, humanitarian and peacebuilding approaches to global challenges.  David has written widely about graduate and undergraduate education in the Chronicle of Higher EducationConflict Resolution QuarterlyJournal of Peace Education, Forbes.com, and ACResolution. David has been featured and published on humanitarian and peacebuilding issues in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.   In 2015, he received the William Kreidler Award for Distinguished Service to the field of Conflict Resolution by the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Talia Rubin

Talia Rubin is a recent graduate of Columbia University with a degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures. Talia was the president of Columbia/Barnard Hillel from 2017-2018, and also served on the board of the Columbia Pre-Law Society. She has interned at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and at Brooklyn Family Court, and has worked as a paralegal at Allen & Overy (a British international firm) and Holtz, Holtz & Volek (an intellectual property law firm). Talia currently works as a paralegal at Covington & Burling LP, specializing in litigation.

Douglas Ely

Douglas Ely is the Associate Director of Team Wellbeing for Ashoka Changemakers. Doug is originally from Toledo, Ohio and has called Boston, St. Louis, and Jerusalem home prior to spending the past three years in Washington, DC. He has previously been a middle school science teacher with Teach For America, community service program manager and a grassroots organizing consultant.