IEEW'S Peace Through Business Program Culminates in the U.S. with a Dynamic Business Training and Leadership Program

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Sessions and Presentations with Professors to be Held at Northwood University

CEDAR HILL, Texas –This year’s graduating class from the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) will be taking part in a number of events unlike any other held in the organization’s 6-year history.  The class will participate in an annual leadership development training, mentorship program, International Women’s Economic Summit, and graduation gala. The students from Afghanistan and Rwanda will travel to the United States for a host of important events. One of the most significant portions of their training will take place from July 9-13 at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas. This Business Boot Camp portion of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program consists of dynamic, high-level business training, combined with leadership skills, for qualifying students.

IEEW provides training every year to 60 women in both countries of Afghanistan and Rwanda, to help them grow their own businesses; this is the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program. As part of this training, half of the 60 students are selected to travel to the United States in July for higher-level business and leadership training.  They each have a one-week-long mentorship with an American female business owner in a matching industry. They also take part in an International Women’s Economic Summit - a conference that focuses on the strength and contribution of women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, the obstacles they face, and free economy solutions to peace. At that time, they will also participate in a U.S. graduation.

 A third component of the program is called “Pay It Forward.”  The students from Afghanistan and Rwanda are committed to paying it forward for one full year. Many of them teach a course to the next class of women graduating from IEEW within their home country, and they all mentor other business owners in their communities.

“We have a truly inspiring lineup of speakers and distinguished guests at this year’s Summit who embody IEEW’s mission of empowering women economically, socially, and politically,” says Dr. Terry Neese, founder and chief executive officer of IEEW.

Topics that will be discussed at the boot camp at Northwood University include how to create a marketing plan, understanding obstacles and overcoming them, how to make a good presentation, and understanding financials. Keynote speaker Marilyn Johnson, recently retired vice president of market development at IBM, will address the students, as well as well as leaders from AT&T. Dr. Kevin Fegan, President of Northwood University Texas, will be speaking to the students, in addition to various professors who will be making presentations.

“These events provide a rare opportunity to meet, hear the stories, and get to know the students one-on-one from far corners of the world in Afghanistan and Rwanda,” Neese adds.

Special events on the Northwood University Texas campus include Chamber Night Out with the Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation, which will be held July 12th.   At the event the women will be honored with a proclamation from Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Frankie, which will be presented by City Councilman and Cedar Hill Chairman of the Board Steve Mason declaring July 12th Peace Through Business Day.

Also on Friday, July 13, the women will take part in an exclusive Knights Crossing Over Ceremony only for participants of the 2012 Peace Trough Business Program, to be held at the Cedarwood Bridge on the Northwood campus.

The Crossing Over ceremony symbolizes the "crossing over" of Northwood University graduates, students, colleagues and friends of the university from various backgrounds, and bonds them with one another by inducting them into knighthood.  Held annually on the first Saturday of October, the Texas Campus Crossing Over Ceremony is steeped in the lore of Knights, chivalry, honor, freedom and officially inducts participants into Northwood Knighthood. 

About IEEW

The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), started in 2006, is an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)3 with a mission to empower women to grow their businesses, pursue greater entrepreneurial ventures and become more active public policy advocates. The Institute accomplishes this mission by focusing on education, mentorship and coaching women in the United States and abroad who are seeking to acquire entrepreneurial skills to help start and grow a business. IEEW works with a network of mentors, corporate sponsors, and private donors across the United States to accomplish its work.

Private sector funding provided in part by these National Presidential Level sponsors: The T. Boone Pickens Foundation, the AT&T Foundation, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Northwood University, and The Hill newspaper.

About Dr. Terry Neese

A member of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, past national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services, Dr. Neese is known as a small business expert, and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30”— the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C. She is an inductee into the National and Oklahoma Women’s Halls of Fame, co-founder and past president of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and a former distinguished fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Dr. Neese made history in 1990 when she became the first woman nominated by a major political party for the seat of Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. The grandmother and certified pilot also has been appointed to numerous councils and positions, with nominations by prominent leaders such as Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day and evening programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.