Our Story

Dr. Terry Neese was inspired to start the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women after she was invited on a trip to Afghanistan with the State Department in 2006. After seeing how women were being excluded from positions of power and leadership, Neese created the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program to empower women. The first PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program was held in 2007 on Northwood University’s campus in Midland, Michigan and 12 women graduated from the program. In 2008, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® expanded to Rwanda. Manizha Wafeq and Parwarish Oryakhail held the first 5-day Pathways course in 2017 and graduated 53 women from the provinces of Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat. To date, over 1,000 women have graduated from the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program.  

The mission of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women is to educate and empower women around the world economically, socially, and politically.


It is widely acknowledged that economically stable societies have a much greater capacity for peace. Small business has always been the backbone of economic stability; and the Institute believes that diversity is the key to the development and stability of business in emerging economies around the globe.


By empowering one woman to become a successful business owner, we hope to create a ripple effect in communities that inspires more women to become active participants in not only business but also the greater community. We create societal change giving women the tools to change their own lives and thus change their status quo.


While women business owners have the ability to transform their own lives and the lives around them, empowerment goes much further. Women must be involved in all aspects of business including public office where they have the power to change laws.