Clinton, widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, spoke at the group's gala in Manhattan, introduced by actress Julianna Margulies.
She said the coming months would be "crucial" for the region, both in the attempts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians and in efforts to make sure Iran doesn't acquire nuclear weapons. She said that both goals were vital to the United States' interests.
Clinton, 66, went over her own history, talking about some of the steps she had taken in the peace process while serving as secretary of state for President Barack Obama and steps to increase international pressure on Iran.
"I pursued the peace negotiations in large measure because I think the status quo is unsustainable, and I want to do everything I can ... to keep testing, to keep pushing," she said.
The American Jewish Congress is an association of Jewish Americans seeking to defend Jewish interests through public policy advocacy, using diplomacy, legislation and the court system, according to its website.
The Stephen S. Wise Award for Lifetime Achievement also has been given to President Harry Truman and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren among others.