Our Impact

IEEW Timeline


Terry Neese travels to Kabul with STATE DEPARTMENT DELEGATION for official US-Afghan Women’s Council meeting and to assess the progress of women business owners. PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® (PTB) born on trip home.


First Afghanistan PTB® course taught on Northwood University campus 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. 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 PTB program.


PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® expands to Rwanda, Africa, 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 Oklahoma Christian campus. Terry Neese and team FLY between the two classes. Northwood University bestows honors on Dr. Neese. Dr. Holly Hixson, with Oklahoma Christian, becomes the first Rwanda in-country facilitator. Betsy DeVos speaks at luncheon in Midland, MI.

“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. In Afghanistan, alumnae charter PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Network, the first association for past graduates. 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 popular new concepts, Dr. Neese and team continue to improve the PTB experience. Leadership Development coaches introduced to offer students more opportunities to hear from American businesswomen. Northwood University professors teach course work in morning sessions, then American businesswomen drive home the concepts as they relate directly to the students' business plans. 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 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 DC, the staff of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invites the women for a visit. With time limited, the delegation of women gather 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. 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 host the first-ever AT&T Luncheon in downtown headquarters. Later, 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, speaks 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 online apps that inspire, encourage and offer direction on business plans. 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® Network, the alumanae association in Afghanistan, joins other prominent women business leaders to launch a larger advocacy platform, Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan's Development (LEAD).  Later, LEAD requests an appointment and is invited to speak with President Hamid Karzai about peace and the USA security deal, one of the first female groups to receive such an honor. The USA Leadership Development 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.

Class of 2019 Rwanda Statistics:

• An average of 21 jobs created per student

• Top Industries: Food & beverage, textiles & handicrafts, agriculture, IT

• 41% of PTB 2019 graduates import/export beyond Rwandan borders

• 97% of PTB 2019 Rwandan graduates are Paying it Forward

Class of 2019 Afghanistan Statistics:

• An average of 13 jobs created per student

• Top Industries: Manufacturing, agriculture, e-commerce

• 29% of PTB 2019 graduates import/export beyond Afghan borders

• 86% of PTB 2019 Afghan graduates are Paying it Forward


Even though Northwood University sells its Texas campus, 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 dedication of presidential partner, AT&T and the Women of AT&T Dallas Chapter, led to their hosting of Leadership Development on the 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 includes visits to PTB businesses, training, meeting with government officials, and culminates in a grand 10-year celebration. Mrs. Laura Bush and The Bush Institute publish We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope. Five stories in the book are PTB graduates, including Manizha Wafeq, quoted 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!


First Lady Rula Ghani of Afghanistan invites the in-country graduating Class of 2017 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® to hold their certificate presentation in her presidential palace wing. Mrs. Ghani made it her policy as First Lady to welcome the people of Afghanistan, especially women, to come and share their stories. Key alumnae of the PTB Network and advocacy group LEAD, receive Ministry approval for the Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AWCCI). PTB Rwanda In-Country Facilitator Chantal Munanayire becomes one of three honored with the Women of Courage award. Thanks to Afghan In-Country Facilitator Manizha Wafeq and Parwarish Oryakhail, 5-day mini-courses are held for the first time in provincial Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, graduating 53 women with a certificate from Northwood University. the PTB/NU Pathways course includes the option to create your own business plan within thirty days in order to qualify for Leadership Development.

The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program has trained 877 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.


PTB / Northwood University Pathways program goes to Nangarhar, Kandahar and Parwan, educating 44 with Persian speaking mentors assisting. AWCCI achieves a 5% set aside for women business owners in Afghanistan. First Lady Rula Ghani hosts in-country graduation, Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib of Afghanistan attends personal meetings and the Graduation Gala at La Cima Club Las Colinas. The women of PTB® Rwanda welcome TWO IEEW USA delegations in March and May. March delegates and IEEW BoDs Monica Smiley and Sonu Ratra participate on the selection committee. In May, IEEW’s Nancy Hyde (BoD) and Mary Pointer (President, Sister Cities International OKC) monitor and make suggestions for the alumnae association’s loan committee. AAPTBR partners with the Minister of Gender to educate rural women. Signaling continued support for IEEW, presidential partner Bank of America increases their annual giving by 25% in 2018, while AT&T & The Hill Newspaper hold firm with their support.


Record numbers apply for PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®. Dr. Tara Peters, Texas faculty lead, and Dr. Mamiko Reeves, Assistant Vice President & Dean of International Programs help IEEW update the curriculum. IEEW new board members include Dao Jensen, founder of Kaizen Technology Partners San Francisco, and Cathy Cruzan, president of Funds for Learning Oklahoma City. The International Advisory Council adds PTB® alum, Mozhgan Wafiq Alokozai. Bank of America opens up their Cornell Entrepreneurship courses to PTB® alumnae, sponsoring 15 spots. IEEW assists Sister Cities International siblings, Oklahoma City & Kigali City, in a newly signed MoU. The City of Kigali mayor and the Alumnae Association PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Rwanda (AAPTBR) seal the gift of classroom space for PTB® in the newly completed Robero Women’s Center. AAPTBR takes first steps on a business loan program for IEEW alum and signs another MoU with the National Women’s Council to training women tailors, street vendors, and other business owners from the Districts of Gisagara, Huye, and within Kigali City. PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Network is reinvigorated with monthly high tea sharing sessions after two successful years of sustaining the Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI). Afghan facilitator, Manizha Wafeq, is honored by Enterprising Women Magazine with the 2019 Advocacy Award. Graduate Masooma Ibrahimi and her husband wrap a short documentary film on PTB® in Afghaninstan.


Despite a global pandemic, 43 graduated from PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) in-country. Class of 2020 Rwanda bravely recorded their own business plan presentations in order to complete the course.| Leadership Development became IEEW's first virtual event, highlighting crisis management, strategic planning, and self-care. IEEW also tested pre-recorded webinars and taught Pathways courses online. Participants from Morocco, alumnae, and eMentors joined Class of 2020, sponsors, and others through virtual Leadership Development. AT&T, Northwood University, IBM, and Funds for Learning, our online host, were helpful in creating an open forum for Leadership Development online. Mayor Pudence Rubingisa, Kigali City, participated and hosted the Class of 2021 Rwanda for the forum. In-person Leadership Development, hosted in the USA, is vital. Yet, having a virtual component for women entrepreneurs around the world is crucial. The capacity for both would allow IEEW to reach strategic objectives within the next 2 years.| Cathy Cruzan, Funds For Learning, is elected Chair, IEEW board of directors. Dr. Susan Chambers, Integris Lakeside Women's Hospital, elected as vice-Chair. | In November and December PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) Afghanistan was able to reach 47 women entrepreneurs in five provinces with 36 hours online and 2 days in the Kabul classroom. Provinces served and often overlooked, include Kunduz, Ghazni, Faryab, Nimroz, and Panjshir. | The heavily locked down Alumnae Association PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) Rwanda completed a MoU with the City of Kigali and the Ministry of Gender & Family Values to train over 6000 men and women with nontraditional businesses. This would include farmers and handicraft artisans in remote provinces. Though training has been delayed, 250 have been identified for the first round of training. The City of Kigali completed the Rubero Women's Center. PTB will be the first tenants when the Class of 2021 begins to meet in January.

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