As someone with extensive knowledge and experience in Afghanistan and around the world, Texas A&M Bush School Dean Ryan Crocker was a logical choice to take part in the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program (PTB), which helps educate and support women entrepreneurs across the globe. Crocker moderated the AT&T/Institute for the Empowerment of Women’s panel discussion in Dallas on July 16, at which PTB graduates talked about how empowering women in these countries can lead to economic prosperity.
The Dallas meeting was part of the final phase of the 2014 program, during which twenty-eight women from Afghanistan and Rwanda, who have persevered through poverty and war, celebrated their past achievements and their hope for a better tomorrow.
“I firmly believe that education for women in Afghanistan is essential for the country’s future,” said Crocker. “I know from personal experience what it takes for women there and in other developing countries to find the courage and strength to strike out as entrepreneurs, and I was honored to meet these remarkable women and hear their stories of success against sometimes overwhelming odds,” he said. He thanked the AT&T Foundation for its support of this important program.
PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® is a training program designed to provide long-term business education to women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. Dr. Terry Neese, former national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners and founder of the nonprofit Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, started the program in 2006. IEEW now oversees the program, which consists of a ten-week course in-country followed by a leadership development program and graduation in the United States.
Neese noted that 2014 marks the eighth year of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program. “We are honored to once again have the support of the City of Dallas and our corporate sponsors, like AT&T, in the ongoing effort to build a strong foundation economically, socially, and politically for these women and to ensure that the opportunities are sustainable,” she said.
This year’s participants own businesses that range from fashion to car mechanics to film production. In addition to seminars and training, while in Dallas each of the women is paired with an American woman business owner in a matched profession, lives in her home, and goes to work with her each day for one week. This provides a one-on-one opportunity to experience firsthand skills the women will use in their businesses when they return home.
On July 28 and 29, AT&T and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® will host the International Women’s Economic Summit at the AT&T University in Las Colinas, TX. The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program will conclude with a graduation celebration at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.