Robert Bank

Robert Bank

Executive Vice President

Please contact Robert Bank through Jody West,
Chief of Staff

Robert Bank, currently the executive vice president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), will be the next president of AJWS, starting on July 1, 2016. As the organization’s Executive Vice President for the past six-and-a half years, Robert has focused on the organization’s strategic growth and on deepening its impact. Robert is an experienced leader and manager of local, national and international organizations, and prior to joining AJWS in 2009 he served in New York’s municipal government and in the leadership of GMHC—one of the leading organizations in the world engaged in combatting HIV/AIDS. In 2008, he played an instrumental role in the campaign to overturn the ban on HIV-positive people entering the United States and becoming U.S. citizens.

Robert’s commitment to social justice is rooted in his experience of growing up in a Jewish family in South Africa under apartheid, witnessing its daily cruelties and understanding its deep roots in racism and oppression. At the time, Robert was influenced by seeing how indefatigable activists can build more just and democratic societies. Robert’s Jewish identity was also shaped in South Africa, where he attended Jewish day schools in Cape Town and drew inspiration from members of his own family who were active in the anti-apartheid movement, one of whom was jailed for more than two decades. As a young person, Robert also drew inspiration from the Jewish tradition of serving the poor and the most vulnerable among us.

Robert immigrated to the United States as a young man to follow one of his passions, studying piano at Juilliard. While performing in New York City’s most underserved schools as a teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute, Robert came to understand more fully the economic and racial divides in American life. This inspired him to follow another lifelong passion: working for justice and dignity for all. Robert studied law and then pursued a career in advocacy, and has since dedicated his professional life to fighting for the civil rights of women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Robert has received the Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Partners in Justice Award from AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Selah Leadership Program, Peripheral Vision International and Nehirim. In his work with AJWS over the past six-and-a-half years, he has championed the human rights of our world’s poorest and most oppressed people, and helped our organization forge a strategic and sustainable path for future success.

Before immigrating to the U.S. in 1977, Robert studied at the University of Cape Town. He holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School in New York and a law degree from the City University of New York Law School.

Interested in a Career with AJWS?