IEEW Celebrates 2013 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® PROGRAM Graduates at Rwanda And Afghanistan Ceremonies

The Institute For Economic Empowerment of Women Prepares Female Graduates for Entrepreneur Roles to Promote Peace within Their Growing Nations.

Oklahoma City, OK, March 28, 2013 --( The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) (, a nonprofit organization that encourages women’s leadership and entrepreneurship through education and mentoring initiatives, has announced that students of its PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program, a training program for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, are graduating from the in-country portion of the program in their respective countries. Each country has 30 women who participated in an eight-week training course focused on developing entrepreneurs, improving technical skills and creating leaders with an emphasis in accounting, marketing and business operations. More than 200 people are expected to attend the in-country graduations, including the Rwandan Minister of Gender.

Two American businesswomen, Marion Marshall and Darcie Harris, will serve as mentors in this year’s program and are in Rwanda to participate in that country’s graduation. The top 10 women from each country will then travel back to the United States to begin the mentorship portion of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program. This next step involves a weeklong “Business Boot Camp” at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, featuring high-level discussions with experts on specific business, leadership and public policy topics. The women will live and work with an American mentor to gain hands-on business experience before graduating from the second portion of the program on Tuesday, July 30.

Amir Taj Sirat, a 2007 graduate of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program, recently spent time with U.S. Sen. John Kerry in Afghanistan, who met with Afghan businesswomen while visiting the country to foster better relations with the United States. Sirat is the owner of a soccer and volleyball manufacturing company, Green Way Ball Company, which she grew to reach new levels of success with support and training from the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program. Sen. Kerry’s meeting with Sirat was highlighted on NBC’s Today show on March 26, a link to which can be viewed here:

“This graduation is a monumental step for the women in our PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program, as they complete their in-class training and begin to apply their new business knowledge to real-life situations,” said Dr. Terry Neese, CEO of IEEW. “The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women is honored to help empower these women economically, politically and socially to equip them to become the change agents needed to bring about peace in their home countries.”

- Marshall is the owner of Absolutely Blooming!, a Dallas-based full-service event planning and design production firm offering expert planning, floral arrangements and décor for socials and weddings. This is her fifth year serving as a mentor for IEEW’s PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program. Harris is the CEO and creator of EWF International, an organization offering peer advisory groups, coaching and consulting for women business owners and executives based in Oklahoma City. An accomplished speaker, consultant, facilitator and trainer, Harris works to teach leadership skills to women at all stages in their careers, giving them the encouragement, confidence and inspiration needed to grow.

- IEEW is supported by the following National Presidential Level sponsors: The T. Boone Pickens Foundation, the AT&T Foundation, Office Depot, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Northwood University and The Hill newspaper.

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About IEEW:
Established in 2006, the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, based in Oklahoma City, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that encourages the empowerment of women economically, politically and socially by focusing on their education and mentorship. The IEEW strives to help women in the United States and abroad who want to gain entrepreneurial skills that will help them start and grow a business, which will in turn help them to become more active and effective public policy advocates. Working on the forefront of these efforts, the IEEW believes in the power of women as a driving force in the development and stability of businesses in emerging economies. Through its dedication, hard work and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, the IEEW helps provide women with a voice in their fight to establish peace and free market economies. For more information, visit

Caitlin Russell
MMI Public Relations
(919) 233-6600
Patty Briguglio