ASU’s Thunderbird School seeks to support the safety of Afghan women

PHOENIX – ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management has supported the economic empowerment of tens of thousands of Afghan women since 2005 through a program called Project Artemis.

With the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Thunderbird School of Global Management is focused on ensuring and supporting the safety of its former students.

“We can’t say exactly how much we can do, but we will do all we can to welcome women leaders from Afghanistan who have to flee the country – here at ASU”, Director General and Dean of Thunderbird School of Global Management, said Sanjeev Khagram KTAR News 92.3 FM Wednesday.

As the dean of the school and a refugee child himself, Khagram is intensely focused on building world peace through trade.

But following the recent events in Afghanistan which he described as an “incredible tragedy”, he focused on protecting the identities of the thousands of women who participated in and benefited from the university’s outreach.

“The first thing we want to do is make sure we don’t endanger them in any way,” Khagram said. “We are also mobilizing all of our resources to provide our women with information as much as possible on how they might get out.”

Financial resources have also been mobilized for the university alumni network, which has many students active in the Artemis project.

“We have 46,000 alumni in 140 different countries and we have a few students coming from Afghanistan now,” Khagram said. “We are trying to get them to come here, along with many other Afghan students who are in other programs through ASU.”

While it is not known how many Afghan refugees ASU will host, the university is keen to support them in any way it can.

“I wish it were otherwise, but I think we have to fear the worst and we have to go from there, whether it is our alumni or others on the ground, the women and men in Afghanistan are closing down their stores, they ‘try to flee for safety,’ Khagram said.

The Artemis project is a business skills training program that strengthens the expertise of emerging Afghan women entrepreneurs.

The program has developed the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of promising Afghan businesswomen since its inception, enabling them to return to Afghanistan to create and develop sustainable businesses.

The program has six cohorts, with a total of 86 women from programs organized from 2005 to 2016. Artemis graduates have created 5,000 jobs in Afghanistan and mentor 20,000 other women.

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Mara R. Wilmoth