Board Members

Ruth Friend, President and founding member, is an entrepreneur and humanitarian activist. She has worked throughout her life on issues of war and peace while acting as CEO of her company, Myung Jin Inc. She counseled conscientious objectors through the American Friends Service Committee during the Vietnam war, and was an advocate for Vietnamese and Tibetan refugees coming to the US throughout the 1980’s. In 1990 she created a medicine trail to Cuba delivering thousands of medical supplies to that country. In 2003 she was a founding member of Ruth Group, a community based organization focused on world affairs. She established a Speakers Series of prominent professionals in political affairs. The extraordinary stories of what happened to Iraqis as a result of the Iraq war sparked her interest in citizen diplomacy and the founding of Citizens Reach Out (CRO) in 2008.

David Harris, Vice President and founding member,  is a journalist and author, reporting on stories throughout the United States as well as in Central and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.  A former contributing editor for The New York Times Magazine and Rolling Stone and the author of ten nonfiction books.  During the Vietnam War, David was a Stanford University’s Student Body President, and a leader in the antiwar movement, and was imprisoned for refusing orders to report for military service.

David is currently working on several books, and writing for the CRO “What Happened? Project”.

Bill Sims is an attorney specializing in non profits. He has given CRO guidance throughout its establishment and has been associated with all of its participants for the past 8 years.




Amy Skewes-Cox is Secretary for CRO. She is a land use and environmental planner with 30 years experience preparing and managing environmental documents for large development projects in Northern California.  Amy worked with Ruth Group, and in 2007 participated in the “Mustafa Project”, which resulted in the successful medical rehabilitation of Mustafa, a 3 year old Iraqi child. Amy’s awakening to the humanitarian disaster of the Iraq war has made her a powerful advocate for refugees.


3358ef4Ellen Greenblatt  is an education professional with an extensive background in teaching, writing educational materials, coaching and leading professional development workshops for educators in the US and internationally.

Ellen’s longstanding interest in the American war in Vietnam led to  “Vietnam, Changing Perspectives,” a course she taught for more than a decade, and has now led to her focus on the work of Citizens Reach Out. She is pleased to be able to put her skills in writing, project initiation, collaboration, and learning design to work for the benefit of refugees.




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