Don Ritter


The 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 employment opportunity that benefits the broad breadth of Afghan citizenry.