NORMAN — Katie Ward, a Class of 2000 graduate from Moore was invited by the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women to speak to women visiting from Afghanistan and Rwanda on July 23 about service and advocacy activities she participates in which helps advance the status of women locally and worldwide.
Established in 2006 by Dr. Terry Neese, 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 education and mentorship.
While in the United States for the International Women’s Economic Summit, students of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program attended IEEW’s annual fundraiser, a fashion show called “Jewel,” where Ward spoke with the students about her volunteer organization, Zonta Club of Central Oklahoma as well as her work for the United States Air Force, emphasizing her support for the warfighter and the mission of the Air Force. One student from Afghanistan told Ward she was “very grateful” for the U.S. soldiers being in her country protecting her family, employees, and herself from the Taliban.
Ward spoke with the students from Rwanda about Zonta International. She told students that Zonta International, in cooperation with UNICEF, provides programs focused on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV Infection as well as the prevention and response to survivors of domestic and gender based violence in Rwanda. Katie learned from one student from Rwanda the hardship she faced during and after the genocide that ended in 1994.
On July 24, Ward was invited to a roundtable discussion with Gov. Mary Fallin at the Capitol where Governor Fallin spoke with Dr. Neese and the PEACE students. Ward had the opportunity to speak with Fallin about volunteer efforts with Zonta. Ward told the governor that one-third of Zonta Club of Central Oklahoma’s service funds raised each year goes to Zonta International, who in turn works with agencies of the United Nations providing assistance to women in developing countries such as Rwanda and Afghanistan improve their legal, political, economic, educational, and health status.