My Profile   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
News & Press: Coalition Partner News

IEEW Announces 2009 Peace Through Business Program

Wednesday, September 23, 2009  
Share |

We are so proud of our 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS class, and we know that they will go forth and pay forward their blessings to their fellow countrywomen.The combining of the two groups made for a truly international and incredible experience.

The Institute is proud to announce that its 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program has been our biggest success yet! Our 29 students from Afghanistan and Rwanda were phenomenal, and we know that they have the resources and knowledge to bring change to their countries -- and bring peace through business. By clicking the button below, you can hear from the students themselves in this high-definition mini-documentary about PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS. Learn first-hand the challenges these women face at home and how PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS is helping them to overcome these obstacles. 




It all started Aug. 7, when the Afghan and Rwandan women arrived to their final destination: Dallas, Texas ... America! It only took six groups of flights, five airport shuttle runs, 12 (temporarily) missing pieces of luggage and three trips to Wal-Mart ... but all in all, the women arrived safe and sound, and they were so happy and grateful to be in the United States for this opportunity of a lifetime.

The Afghan women were the first to arrive in the United States for the 2009 program.

The Afghan women were the first to arrive, and after flying from Kabul to Dubai (16 hours straight in the air) to Atlanta and then to Dallas, needless to say, they were tired.  But, that didn't stop them from giving their "Rwandan friends" (as they called them) a warm welcome when they arrived on campus several hours later. In the midst of eating dinner, as the Rwanda women entered the dining hall, every single one of the Afghan women immediately stopped eating, stood up from their seats and extended hands and hugs.

The global adventure for these women had begun. Farghana Alimy, a boutique owner from Afghanistan, said it best during her introduction at the students' cultural exchange.

"I've come here to connect Afghan women with a global world."

Immy Kamarade introduces herself to the 2009 group and expresses her gratitude for this opportunity of a lifetime.

We couldn't have said it better! By bringing these two cultures together on the same campus this year, the door to international partnership opportunities has truly been opened.

Despite their distinct differences, the women from each country found the common threads between them. One Rwandan student helped break the ice with laughter.

"I'm not married, and I'm still searching," she began. "So, if you know anybody -- American, Afghan -- I don't mind."

Laughter filled the room.

(From left) 2009 Afghan students, Shahrbanoo Rezai and Roqia Sajjadi, enjoy a traditional Texas BBQ dinner complete with cowboy hats and bandanas.

Their goals are big and their spirits are high, and Annette Karenzi, owner of a Curves-type gym, is no exception.

"My dream is to own a five-star hotel," she said proudly during her introduction.

(From left) 2009 Afghan students, Shahrbanoo Rezai and Roqia Sajjadi, enjoy a traditional Texas BBQ dinner complete with cowboy hats and bandanas.

While their dreams are big, they go even beyond building their businesses. Shahrbanoo Rezai, who owns an almond packaging company in Afghanistan spoke of the woman's role in rebuilding Afghanistan and creating peace.

"I come from a province that is very deprived and very poor, because it was just established six years ago," she explained. "But, I am so happy to be an Afghan and to belong to one country. We see the impact of the past and now the present - and now, we the Afghan people really want just peace. At least we can try for our future."


Leadership Development was a huge success! After a few days of adjusting to the new time zone, the 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS students were primed and ready for classes to start. Every day, the women seemed to gain more energy, more excitement and more empowerment!

The week was filled with panels and discussions on financials, business plans, marketing, economics, leadership and so much more.

The panel of American women business owners sharing their real life stories -- their struggles and victories -- was by far one of the students' favorite panels of the week. By sharing their stories, the students felt connected to these American women and understood that they are not alone.

Nan Ellen Nelson, a true leader in women's issues, spoke at the very heart of what the week was all about - leadership.

"As servant leaders, you must humble yourself," she explained as she challenged the women to their own leadership launch.

As Nelson asked the women to think about the ways to improve self discovery, the ideas chimed in from around the room:

"Accountability and transparency."


"Walk the talk."                                      

Nan Ellen Nelson, daughter of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), helped the 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS class "unleash the leader within through self-discovery."

2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS facilitators stand proudly next to Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke after he announced a proclamation from the city of Cedar Hill that Aug. 11 is declared "PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS Day."

2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS facilitators stand proudly next to Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke after he announced a proclamation from the city of Cedar Hill that Aug. 11 is declared "PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS Day."

The importance of community was emphasized when community officials and leaders from Cedar Hill all gathered together at Northwood to mingle and honor the 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS students.

The turnout was incredible! And the two proclamations issued by both Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield and Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke took the students by surprise.

In Dallas County, August was officially declared PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS month and in the city of Cedar Hill, Aug. 11 is now PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS day.

The first annual International Women's Economic Summit was also a huge success. Speakers included Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Newsweek journalist Eleanor Clift and so many more.

Rep. Granger described her experiences and challenges as a female leader and as a businesswoman. One of her first challenges, she explained, was when she went to the bank to get a loan to start her business, and the male loan officer advised her that she should just get married instead.

"I told him that I didn't come for counseling, I came for a loan," she said with a smile.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) delighted students with her shared experiences as a woman in politics and in the business world. 

The students loved Representative Granger and all of the other speakers -- and their eagerness to learn continued to grow by the day -- by the session -- by the speaker!

Mentorship week was incredible as well. Each student was matched with an American woman business owner who operated a similar business -- and the students flew out to all corners of the United States to spend a week with their mentors. The experience was life-changing for many.

Rwandan student Jane Natukunda works on a home-canning project with her one of her mentors at Oklahoma State University.

"Mentoring Marlene was a wonderful experience -- to be able to share my knowledge with someone and actually help her figure out how to take her business in the right direction," said Smita Vasant, owner of Neemo's Exotic Ice Creams in Artesia, Calif.


"This is a wonderful and unique program that truly can empower women and give them that much-needed push to seek a better future!"


Every student bragged and boasted about how their mentorship was the best, which only goes to show that everyone's mentorship was a journey to always remember.


Upon returning to Dallas after mentorship, our 29 students were in for a rare treat that even most Americans don't have the opportunity to experience for themselves. Even after three and half full weeks of meeting top American women business owners and executives, leaders from the government and NGOs, the icing on the program's cake was still yet to be tasted at the program's graduation ceremony and farewell reception.

The 2009 class had the honor to meet and have a roundtable discussion with former first lady Mrs. Laura Bush.

Not only was Mrs. Laura Bush the keynote speaker for the ceremony, but she also spent quality time with the students in a roundtable discussion where each student had the opportunity to tell Mrs. Bush their name, talk about their businesses and what they have learned from PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS. The women also talked about the time they spent with their mentors. 


The event was hosted by AT&T, and in attendance were sponsors, mentors, Northwood University staff, AT&T employees and more. The event also delivered the debut of the mini-documentary about PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS.  Mrs. Bush shook each woman's hand, as they were each presented with a diploma.

The 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS concluded with a farewell reception and graduation ceremony at The Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas. 

Our planning for 2010 has already begun with the women leading the way for the first time.  The students have all met and in unison asked if they could start an Association of Peace through Business Alumni in their countries.  

We are so proud of our 2009 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS class, and we know that they will go forth and pay forward their blessings to their fellow countrywomen.

We, at the Institute, will of course miss our students as they have already returned home, but we know that their true journey has just begun. Empowered with the knowledge we have shared with them, our 29 students will pay forward their knowledge gained here. They have each been charged to teach, to serve, to make sure that more women come to the table. They will indeed be giving back to their country in the terms of job creation and the free enterprise system.


Step by step, we, as women, will help create a more peaceful world.  Please join and get involved with our 2010 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS by being a volunteer, a mentor, attending our events or sponsoring a woman. For more information, contact Lin Weigel at


Warmest Regards,


2709 W. I-44 Service Road | Oklahoma City, OK 73112 US

more Calendar

Give Me 5 Virtual Mentoring - Contract Vehicles

ChallengeHER Austin

Give Me 5: Executing Your Plan to Add Zero to Your Revenues (Part 2)

Give Me 5: Executing Your Plan to Add A Zero to Your Revenues (Virtual Mentoring)

Give Me 5 Virtual Mentoring: DCAA Audit Readiness

Featured Members
Pamela MazzaWIPP National Partner

Privacy Policy / Disclaimer    |    © WIPP  |    888-488-WIPP

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal