July 19, 2013

Free Women, Free Markets, and Prosperity for All

According to an article in the July 13 edition of The Economist (“Untraditional choice”), while women in many Middle Eastern cities face obstacles their counterparts elsewhere do not, an estimated one-third of Arab women are internet entrepreneurs compared to just ten percent of businesswomen around the world. Although the reasons behind this include the many challenges these women face, it also highlights what can be achieved by combining personal vision and determination with the “know how” and tools of free enterprise. 

Developments like this point to the importance and place of programs like PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® and our unique philosophy, The Northwood Idea. The idea that gave rise to Northwood University over 54 years ago is the same one that led to our partnering seven years ago with the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), and it is yet one more way in which we are working “to educate the future leaders of a global, free enterprise society.” 

The 2013 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® (PTB) class includes 22 women from Afghanistan and Rwanda who are on our Texas campus this week, July 15-19, to participate in our annual PTB Business Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is part of a 10-week-plus long program that starts with eight weeks of in-country education, followed by two weeks of training and an International Women’s Economic Summit and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS™ graduation ceremony here in the United States. Like previous PTB events, this year’s Boot Camp featured timely and important events, such as: 

  • Presentations by:
    • Denise Woodside, vice president of Sales Operations, Pricing & Strategy, Office Depot Business Solutions
    • Sandra Howard, Assistant Vice President, Advertising, AT&T
    • Dr. Terry Neese, founder and CEO of IEEW and member our Board of Trustees
    • Presentations and breakout sessions with leaders from AT&T and Ernst & Young
    • A special “Experience Cedar Hill” celebration sponsored by Northwood University and the Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce. Highlights of the evening included:
      • Proclamation of “Peace thru Business Day” presented by Steve Mason, Cedar Hill City Council
      • Reflections about the success of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program by Jerry White, Immediate Past President of the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation and member of our Texas campus Board of Governors
      • An exclusive Knights “Crossing Over” ceremony for all the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® participants

As John Blundell reminds us in Ladies for Liberty, “the true essence of feminism” lies in the recognition that “women are just as adept, clever, and skilled as their male counterparts.” Our “founders” at Northwood University, like those of all great institutions and civilizations, include women of courage, vision, and perseverance in the quest of prosperity for all. As this week’s events demonstrate, we at Northwood University are giving new life today to essential and innovative programs like PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®.

Have a great weekend.


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640