By, Rick Beitman
While ‘Giving Tuesday’, which occurred on December 2, may be over, the season of giving is just beginning. One of the ways Thunderbird School of Global Management gives back is through Project Artemis. – Project Artemis makes an indelible difference in the lives of Afghan women who in turn reshape their community into something good and productive.
Giving back to the global community is just as important as giving to the local community, and at times it can be even more impactful. – Thunderbird President Dr. Larry Penley agrees:
“Thunderbird specifically has a responsibility to global sustainability and [Project] Artemis contributes very significantly to the sustainability of emerging and developing economies. And if one looks at the value of economic development, it is rather considerable.”
Dr. Penley believes that this responsibility to give back to the community, whether global or local, is not just a call for Thunderbird, but for all institutions of higher learning:
“Every accredited U.S. institution has a responsibility to the community to do something that reaches beyond the campus. And Thunderbird shares in that responsibility as an accredited institution, it just so happens that our community is a global community. Project Artemis very specifically speaks to what an accredited institution like Thunderbird ought to do, especially given our global mission.”
Thunderbird For Good goes into foreign locales with the most need and educates women with business skills. This process is an agent for change. For those interested in real, sustainable change, an investment in the women of a country is a wise choice, as they will reinvest 90 percent of what they learn or receive in their homes, families, and communities. Thunderbird For Good has reached women in 26 countries across the globe.
Project Artemis is the original philanthropic venture of Thunderbird For Good, debuting in 2005. In its five cohorts, the program has educated 74 women. These women have returned to Afghanistan and helped to create over 2500 jobs. – Why Afghanistan? It is simply one of the places with the most need. Afghanistan is ethnically diverse and has been caught in both internal conflict and international war for decades. It has also been subject to the competing interests of its diverse neighbors as well as superpowers.
“If women in Afghanistan are educated, they have the potential to raise the wealth of the country via the economic development that occurs from their small businesses,” according to Dr. Penley. – The creation of 2500 jobs is life changing for a civilian populace that is largely unattached and innocent in domestic and foreign conflict. The increase of commerce and job creation has a stabilizing effect on the region and helps to raise the quality of life. – For that reason, Dr. Penley sees the inherent value in this program:
“If Project Artemis succeeds in educating women and improving their business skills, then we succeed as an institution in our mission and we change the economic development in the target country, in this case Afghanistan. In altering economic development, based on research, we increase the educational level of those involved; we change the quality of life for the people who are affected by that economic development. And we create reasons for global prosperity through relative stability politically.”
With the impending merger of Thunderbird and Arizona State University, it is likely that ASU will also see the value of Project Artemis and its impact. Dr. Penley is optimistic:
“Absolutely, ASU values these projects. Dr. Michael Crow, the president of Arizona State University, has made a direct commitment to outreach on the part of ASU. That outreach obviously confers specifically upon the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and the State of Arizona, but as well, [Dr. Crow] has created a global responsibility and mission for the institution.”
Dr. Penley feels that Project Artemis and Thunderbird as a whole will contribute to the global element of Dr. Crow’s ‘New American University’:
“[Dr. Crow] talks about the model that he has developed for the ‘New American University’, which calls for engagement globally, one of its prime drivers. In so many ways, it is not just an American university anymore; it is a global university that he has envisioned as part of that model. The relationship between Thunderbird and ASU obviously has benefits for Thunderbird, but specifically for ASU as well. It contributes additionally to the extent to which that institution is globalized and its reach. ASU is far more international today than it was a decade ago.”
Project Artemis has accrued over $20,000 however it still has a way to go to reach its $50,000 goal. – Even though ‘Giving Tuesday’ has passed, the Indiegogo campaign to support Project Artemis will continue until December 14. T-Birds, Sun Devils, and everyone has the opportunity to support Project Artemis by donating. After giving thanks for our prosperity at home, why not help share that prosperity worldwide?