Peter Ackerman is the founding investor and controlling shareholder of Fresh Direct, the largest independent online grocer in the United States. He is also the managing director of Rockport Capital Inc., a private investment firm which since its inception in 1990, has made numerous direct investments in diverse economic sectors. From 1978 to 1990 he was Director of International Capital Markets at Drexel Burnham Lambert where he structured, financed, and invested in hundreds of recapitalizations including the largest and most complex leveraged acquisitions of that period.
Dr. Ackerman holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where he served for 15 years as the Chairman of the Board of Overseers. He previously was a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and CARE. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House, a global, non-partisan voice for democracy and human rights. He was also the Founder and Chairman of Americans Elect, whose purpose was to invite every registered voter in the United States to participate in a nonpartisan process to nominate candidates for the 2012 Presidential election through an online convention. He is the Founder and Chairman of Level the Playing Field, Inc. the successor to Americans Elect.
Currently, Dr. Ackerman serves on the executive committee of the board of the Atlantic Council. He is the co-chairman of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s International Advisory Council (IAC). He also serves on the U.S. Paralympic Advisory Committee to the U.S. Olympic Committee. He sits on the Advisory Board for America Abroad Media on the board of the Capital Area Food Bank.
Dr. Ackerman is co-author of A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, 2001), which charts the history of civilian based resistance in the 20th century, and Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: The Dynamics of People Power in the Twentieth Century (Praeger, 1994). A Force More Powerful served as the companion to the Emmy-nominated documentary of the same title, for which Dr. Ackerman was the series editor and principal content advisor. He was Executive Producer of the Peabody award-winning PBS-TV documentary, Bringing Down a Dictator, which chronicled the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. He was also an executive producer of the award-winning 2007 documentary Orange Revolution, which also aired on PBS, and tells of the successful resistance to electoral fraud in Ukraine in 2004 – 2005. His films have been translated into 20 languages including Arabic, Burmese, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish, and have been seen in over 80 countries.
Dr. Ackerman is the founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). The mission of ICNC is to develop the understanding and encourage the use of civilian-based, non-military strategies that will lead to the establishment and defense of democratic self-rule and human rights. ICNC was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 by Nobel Prize Economist Tom Schelling and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife Joanne of 43 years. They have two sons and two grandchildren.