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Dr. Terry Neese Welcomes Afghan Businesswomen at International Women’s Economic Summit in Dallas

August 13, 2013 by Sara Van Wie

Eight remarkable Afghan businesswomen celebrated the conclusion of the International Women’s Economic Summit at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas on July 30, 2013.  These women, graduates of the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women’s (IEEW) Peace Through Business program, own and operate a variety of businesses – private schools, media firms, jewelry cooperatives and banking technology companies – throughout their native Afghanistan.

IEEW is a nonprofit public charity dedicated to empowering women economically, socially and politically.  Through its Peace Through Business program, IEEW provides long-term business training to women business owners in war-torn countries in an effort to promote economic stability and peace.  IEEW Founder Dr. Terry Neese is a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and an avid advocate and trainer of women business owners in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2013, 30 Rwandan and 30 Afghan women were recruited to complete the Peace Through Business program, which begins with an eight-week in-country training, based on a curriculum designed in collaboration with Northwood University.  Training sessions cover finance, accounting, marketing and other vital business basics.  Students are graded on tests and attendance and are required to present a business plan to an independent panel of reviewers.  The top 10 students from each country are invited to the United States for additional training, mentorship and leadership development.

Peace Through Business students arrived in the United States in July 2013, when they began a one-week “Business Bootcamp” at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas.  During the following week, students traveled to spend one week with their U.S. mentors, who help them refine their business and brainstorm creative ideas for business growth.  The course concluded with the International Women’s Economic Summit and Graduation in Dallas.

At the Economic Summit, Peace Through Business students from Rwanda and Afghansitan presented “white papers” to their respective ambassadors that identified obstacles to female business owners and recommended solutions for sustainability and growth.  Mrs. Sultana Hakimi, wife of the ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States, received the document on behalf of the Afghan government and assured her countrywomen of Afghanistan’s commitment to securing and expanding women’s rights. 

In her statement to the Afghan business owners and other summit participants, Mrs. Hakimi said, “Building and managing a successful business takes extraordinary leadership and skill.  By mastering these abilities, you and many women like you are making a vital economic contribution to your country’s economy.  Equally important, you are making a positive and constructive impact on the lasting security and prosperity of Afghanistan by setting an example of future inspiring businesswomen.”

Peace Through Business, by providing practical training and mentorship opportunities for Afghan women, is an active contributor to the development and security of Afghanistan.  The Bush Center applauds Dr. Terry Neese and Peace Through Business supporters for their continued commitment to empowering Afghan women with the aim to create a more economically stable, peaceful society.
 

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