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.


(1) participants are engaged, recognized, and valued for their unique upbringing and abilities.

(2) participants learn to see their own backgrounds and differences as a tool for collaborating across political, economic, social, and cultural divides in America.

(3) participants gain increased confidence and leadership and career-readiness skills to bring back to their own communities.

(4) participants are provided with expanded networking and knowledge sharing opportunities, and tools to increase understanding and empathy with the “Other.”

(5) participants are prepared to cultivate, maintain and utilize a strong network of peers who come from diverse backgrounds.

Leadership Team

Ruth Gopin, Founder & President

Ruth Gopin was inspired to start AmerXchange after experiences living abroad during the 2016 presidential election. A sharp contrast between the deep connections built through living and working alongside people from different backgrounds and the divisions being brought to light in America prompted Ruth to return home and begin sharing the lessons she had learned and hopes for a better future in America. Ruth is the Events and Project Manager at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and has consulted for various global organizations including the World Faiths Development Dialogue and Ashoka. Ruth is a graduate of McGill University, an holds degrees in International Development Studies and Management.

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 works as a paralegal at Covington & Burling LP, specializing in litigation. Talia is a 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).