Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, Ruby In Paradise, to Where the Heart Is, Simon Burch, Helen, De-Lovely and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, her films tell very personal stories-- which is exactly what Judd does when she is not making movies.
But the stories she tells are not about being a Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress or about making People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People” list three times.
Ashley Judd is a feminist social justice humanitarian. She has been working internationally, with NGO'S, grass roots organizations, governments, and supranational bodies since 2004. Presently, she serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, is the Global Ambassador for Population Services International, and also for Polaris Project.
She serves on the Advisory Boards of International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Worldwide, and Demand Abolition. She is Chairperson of the Women's Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom.
She has also served as a board member for Population Services International (PSI) and as Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS. Ms. Judd speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and in 2010, earned an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Her paper, Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice won the Dean's Scholar Award at Harvard Law School.
Judd has traveled the world to do international public health work on all fronts– maternal health, child survival, human rights, family planning, STD and HIV prevention and malaria prevention and treatment.
She has experienced firsthand the connection between poverty, illness and gender inequality and how that sets up the pain and degradation that is sex and labor slavery (on which she testified before the General Assembly of the United Nations). Judd says, "The more we hear their stories, the more motivated we are to heal them and the social systems that victimized them in the first place. I believe with all my soul that the art of compassionate witnessing is at the core of global change and peace building."
She is also passionate about the environment. An eighth generation Kentuckian, she is an outspoken critic of mountaintop removal coal mining. A proponent of a "green collar" economy, Judd is committed to helping find innovative renewable energy solutions.
She frequently serves as an expert panelist at international conferences, is a sought after public speaker and is a widely published OpEd author, with a diverse and unique social media presence.
She has spoken at many prestigious conferences around the world, including the London School of Economics' Family Planning Summit, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also hosted a talk with President Clinton on the work of the Clinton Foundation for the London School of Economics. In 2012, she spoke on the floor of the Democratic National Convention as the delegate from Tennessee asked to cast the ballots for the party's nominee for president and vice president.
Whether it's on behalf of a patient dying from a preventable illness a world away or on behalf a family struggling to find clean drinking water in Appalachia, Judd is telling the stories of the vulnerable and the at-risk. Judd says, "I don't do it because I'm an actor. I do it because I'm a human being.”
A native Kentuckian, Ashley currently resides in Tennessee. Ashley is a PhD student at the University of California at Berkeley at the Goldman School of Public Policy.