Empowering Women All Around the World – Economically | Socially | Politically

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IEEW Timeline


Terry Neese flies to Kabul with a STATE DEPARTMENT DELEGATION for an official US-Afghan council meeting and to assess the progress of women business owners. On the trip home, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS (PTB)® is born.


First Afghanistan PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® course is taught on the campus of Northwood University in Midland, MI. Dr. John Amin teaches in Farsi. That year, Terry Neese, staff, sponsors, and mentors waited on pins and needles for the 12 women to arrive in Detroit. Dr. David Long, Provost, welcomed the Afghan women on campus for the SIX WEEK training. Afghanistan in-country facilitator, Manizha Wafeq, hailed from this first class. Betsy DeVos was named honorary chair of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program.


PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® expands to Rwanda, at the request of former-president Mike O’Neal, Oklahoma Christian University. Class time condensed to four weeks. Afghans go to Midland, MI, while Rwandans study in Edmond, OK on the campus of Oklahoma Christian. Terry Neese and team FLY BACK AND FORTH between the two classes. Northwood University bestows honors on Dr. Terry Neese. Dr. Holly Hixson, of Oklahoma Christian, becomes the first Rwanda In-Country Facilitator. Betsy DeVos speaks at the luncheon in Midland, MI.

“I enjoy learning about other cultures. Meeting Monica and Zuhal (mentees) and learning about their countries broadened my experience as a world citizen. My appreciation for their cultural diversity was greatly enhanced.”

– Diane Chen, Mentor, Raleigh, NC


Martha Parker, Mary Mélon and Desma Coleman lead a PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® delegation that includes Darcie Harris to Rwanda. Northwood University president Dr. Keith Pretty signs on to Terry Neese’s idea of training Afghan Muslims and Rwandan Christians together at Northwood University’s Texas Campus in Cedar Hill. With in-country training, Leadership Development can now be reduced to three weeks in the United States. In-person mentorship added into the mix. First Lady Laura Bush speaks to the class at Dallas Women’s Museum.


With 2009’s new concepts all the rage, Dr. Terry Neese and team continue to improve the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® experience. Leadership Development coaches introduced to offer students more opportunities to hear from American business women like themselves. Northwood University professors teach course work in the morning session, then American business women drive home the concepts as they relate directly to the student's business plan. The first pledges toward creating a loan program are donated by AT&T and T. Boone Pickens Foundation. Valerie Freeman, IMPRIMIS, begins her tradition of hosting the women for a fun evening and dinner during Leadership Development. Karen Hughes speaks to Summit attendees in Dallas. Fran McMahon, The Hill, and Randall Stephenson, AT&T, are graduation guest speakers. Jamie Broyles takes over as in-country facilitator in Rwanda. In Oklahoma City, IEEW’s headquarters, Jan Hill, of Eden Salon & Spa, puts on the first of six successful fashion shows to help raise awareness and funds.


First International Women’s Economic Summit opens at Georgetown University following Leadership Development and mentorship week. Melanne Verveer, the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, speaks at graduation. Two other firsts: PTB® Afghan and Rwandan students cook one night at Leadership Development for each other and share their native dances. IEEW staff show off their dancing moves too!

Leadership Development coaches offer students more opportunities to hear from American business women like themselves.


Mixing things up once again, the International Women’s Economic Summit and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Graduation Gala move to Georgetown and Washington, DC. The U.S. Institute of Peace hosts the delegation. While in D.C. the staff of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invites the women for a visit at the State Department. With time limited, the delegation of women gathers in the Treaty Room for a few memorable moments that include cutting a rug with the Secretary. Rose Busingye, a PTB® graduate, steps in as Rwanda in-country facilitator. The Earl Neese Accounting Scholarship is established to benefit any student coming to the program as an independent accountant.


IEEW introduces a second hometown fundraiser in OKC, the HIGH TEA, to coincide with International Women’s Day in March. Meanwhile, Darcie Harris and Marion Marshall represent PTB® on a mission to Rwanda where they participate as members of the Leadership Selection Committee. During Leadership Development in Dallas, the Women of AT&T Dallas Chapter host the first-ever AT&T Luncheon in their downtown headquarters. Afterward, the student delegation visits the International Cultural Museum in Duncanville for food, fun, and a presentation by Nina Vaca, Pinnacle 1 CEO. The International Women’s Economic Summit and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Graduation Gala move back to Dallas. The Summit is held at AT&T University and then, as our long-time presidential sponsor, AT&T hosts the Graduation Gala on stage at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. Mary Millben, Oklahoma-raised, Broadway-trained chanteuse, spoke eloquently to the leadership and guests.


After a trial run in 2013, eMentorship begins – all sixty-four in-country students are paired with an American mentor via email, Skype, and WhatsApp to encourage the students, tutor in the program curriculum and help build a business plan. Terry Neese and Karen Berkheimer, IEEW Student Liaison, lead a team of U.S. delegates to Rwanda. Terry and Brian Maughan, Oklahoma County Commissioner, sign an unprecedented Memorandum of Understanding between Sister Cities Kigali City and Oklahoma City with the Mayor of Kigali. PTB® Alumnae in Afghanistan join others through their new advocacy organization, LEAD, to speak with President Hamid Karzai. The Graduation Gala moves to the newly completed George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas with Secretary Margaret Spellings, the Institute’s Executive Director, as the keynote.

Rwandan Statistics as of 2014:

• On average, each PTB® graduate creates 22 jobs

• Average Annual Income = $17,728 per year

• 31% of PTB® graduates import/export beyond Rwandan borders

• 77% of PTB® graduates are Paying it Forward

• 4 PTB graduates appointed by President Kagame to Rwandan Parliament and Senate

Afghanistan Statistics as of 2014:

• On average, each PTB® graduate creates 28 jobs

• Average Annual Income = $5,440 per year

• 66% of PTB® graduates are Paying It Forward


Even though Northwood University sells its Texas campus, the amazing Dr. Fegan, dedicated professors and staff agree to continue to support PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® and teach leadership development at AT&T University Las Colinas Campus. The unwavering dedication of presidential partner, AT&T and the Women of AT&T Dallas Chapter, led to their hosting of the business Leadership Development on their Las Colinas campus, which includes housing. Prior to announcing her run for the Republican presidential nomination, Carly Fiorina agrees to speak at the graduation gala at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Chantal Munanayire, 2014 PTB® graduate and Enterprising Women award winner, takes over as in-country facilitator for Rwanda.


Terry Neese leads a delegation of sixteen to Rwanda with IEEW mentorship coordinator Karel Ford. The two-week mission included visits to former and current graduates’ businesses, training, and meeting with government officials and culminated in a grand 10-year celebration at the In-Country Graduation event. Mrs. Laura Bush and The Bush Institute publishes We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope. Five of the stories in the book are PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® graduates, including Manizha Wafeq, who earned a spot in the Introduction. Though our world is challenged with ISIS, the resurgence of the Taliban and other troubling signs, the women entrepreneurs of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program remain a beacon of light, shining forth as current and future leaders of a more peaceful and economically stable world. We stand strongest together. Thank you for 10 Years of Global Impact. It takes all of us!


For the first time, First Lady Rula Ghani of Afghanistan invites the in-country graduating Class of 2017 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® to hold their graduation in her presidential palace wing. Mrs. Ghani made it her policy from her first day as First Lady that she could welcome the people of Afghanistan, especially women, to come and share their stories. Just two days earlier, key alumnae and leaders of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Network and advocacy group LEAD, received ministry approval for the first-ever Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industries. PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Rwandan In-Country Facilitator Chantal Munanayire becomes one of three women honored with the Women of Courage award. Thanks to Afghan In-Country Facilitator Manizha Wafeq and team trainer Parwarish Oryakhail, 5-day mini-courses were held for the first time in the smaller provinces of Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, graduating 53 women with a certificate from Northwood University and their Pathways Program.

The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program has trained just over 700 women business owners in Afghanistan and Rwanda. These women have put 16,000 of their fellow countrymen and women to work. 80% of all graduates are still in business today.

2018 - Building Bridges to Peace

Fall of 2017 marked the beginning of a new training program in Afghanistan that IEEW has been working to launch for years. 54 women in Afghanistan's more remote provinces (Mazar and Herat are pilot cities were awarded certificates for completing the new PTB®/NU Pathways mini-course - 5 full days of training followed by a 30-day period to complete a business plan. The IEEW plan is to do it again in fall of 2018.

Due to the new program and the need for Persian speaking mentors, new contacts are made with business women in London, Australia and Canada, as well as the USA. In early 2018, the new Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry, led by PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Alum, convince the government to back a 5% set aside for women business owners. First Lady Rula Ghani hosts in-country course graduation in Afghanistan for the second year in a row, while for the first time, Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib of Afghanistan is on hand for the Graduation Gala at La Cima Club Las Colinas.

The gracious women of PTB® Rwanda welcomed TWO IEEW USA delegations in March and May. March delegates and IEEW Board of Directors Monica Smiley and Sonu Ratra work with Rwandans on the selection committee by hearing in-country graduates present their newly-minted business plans. In May, IEEW delegates Nancy Hyde (Board of Directors) and Mary Pointer (President, Sister Cities International OKC) monitor and make suggestions for the alumnae association’s loan committee as they work through the IEEW / Arrow Global Capital process and procedures for the first pilot loan program. AAPTBR also partners with the minister of Gender and Family Promotion to educate rural women in a one-week seminar. Access Bank’s Women Banking program steps up with an additional $3,500 for the training, demonstrating their dedication to empowering women in Rwanda. Signaling their continued support for IEEW, presidential partner Bank of America increases their annual giving by 25% in 2018, while AT&T held firm with their support in the midst of a strong belt-tightening. The Hill Newspaper, also a presidential sponsor, meets to discuss a larger role in building bridges toward peace with IEEW.

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