Jan Peterson serves as the chair of the Coordinating Council of the Huairou Commission. Her current role stems from 30 years of working in community development, during which she emerged as a groundbreaking leader in producing innovative community structures led by grass-roots women. Jan was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor in September 2009 for her work that spans four decades of commitment to improving grass-roots women’s lives globally. In addition to raising more than USD 4 million for work with grass-roots women, Jan has supported pioneering initiatives such as the Grassroots Academies held at each World Urban Forum and the Local to Local Dialogue Process.
In the United States, Jan founded the National Congress of Neighborhood Women and developed a Leadership Support Process to help grass-roots women build leadership while working across ethnic and racial lines. She also ran the National Institute for Women and Community Development and the Neighborhood Women College Program. Jan has taught in the faculty of Adelphi University School of Social Work, the Pratt Institute, LaGuardia Community College and more recently at the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. Under the Carter administration, she worked as the associate director in the Office of Public Liaison in the White House, as well as the Office of Policy and Planning and Action, with Peace Corps and Vista.