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Mentoring Business Women in Arab World

Today I will meet a young woman from Jordan that I’ll be mentoring on international business and trade.  It is a program sponsored by the Thunderbird School of Global Management and funded by the US Agency for International Development (US AID).[i] I had the great good fortune to work on a US AID funded project on technology transfer to 18 different Asian countries in the early 1990s.  Well, we all saw what happened there with the tiger economies and the double-digit growth in S.E. Asia.  I’m still working with some of the people I met during that mission.

In this Thunderbird SEEDS[ii] program a group of well-educated Jordanian women are being given the opportunity to meet with women business leaders in the US that want to help these entrepreneurs achieve their highest potential.  And the Jordanian women are bringing their in-depth, experiential knowledge of business in the Middle East to the US business women. The exchange is even and mutually beneficial.  The women are in the US for intensive business training at Thunderbird’s Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship.

So often the news on international business stems from conflict: stories of competition and rivalry. This is the opposite. It is a story that has been repeated over and over and over by people that want to reach out and conduct business in a peaceful society.  As has been argued since the time of the mercantilists, the great cultural divides between people can really be bridged by mutual interest.  Trade in goods is the tangible manifestation of that mutual interest.  The ability of well-meaning people all over the world to reach out and find those points of mutual interest is the key to moving out of the economic slump of our age.  Trade is the key.  Always was, always will be.

[i] bit.ly/SEEDprogram

[ii] The acronym stands for: Supporting Entrepreneural & Enterprise Development Seminars

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