Thirty women business owners from Afghanistan and Rwanda are currently visiting the United States as part of a program called Peace Through Business sponsored by the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women. The program has three components: leadership development, an International Women’s Economic Summit and a mentorship program from women business owners located across the United States.
According to the Institute’s founder, Terry Nesse, once the women have completed their time in the U.S., they are equipped with the tools and resources to pay it forward at home. “They actually prepare and present a doument to their Ambassador when they return to their countries,” Nesse explained. Watch my compete interview with Terry Neese.
Afghan student, Khalida Dunya, 34, hopes her U.S. training will empower her to not only grow her ball manufacturing business, but also to have a stronger voice. “I want to provide facilities to the Afghan women because they need a lot of encouragement and eduction,” Dunya said. “A lot of owmen get married away at 10 or 12 years old due to poverty, even though the legal age os marraige is 16. I feel that with the help of my business, I can one day educate these women about their rights and help fix some problems that have long affected our country.”
Rwandan bookstore owner Lydia Hakiziman, 29, says “There are still many problems in Rwanda, but I now see them as opportunities where entrepreneurs like me can thrive and rebuild the country.”
The 2nd annual International Women’s Economic summit is being held in Dallas, August 16 and 17. I have the honor of participating as the emcee for the two-day event which hosts an impressive line-up of keynote speakers including; Ambassador Karen Hughes; Ambassador Steve Steiner; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Phyllis Magrab, Vice Chair of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, and of course many of the students and participants in the program.
You can learn more or register for the Summit on the Institute’s Web site.