Egyptian Women Join Inaugural Class of Leaders

The Women's Initiative Fellowship Program helps them network

By Justin Hinton
|  Thursday, Mar 8, 2012  |  Updated 7:36 PM CDT
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Former first lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute spoke today to encourage Egyptian woman to become leaders at home and abroad.

Jane McGarry, NBC 5 News

Former first lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute spoke today to encourage Egyptian woman to become leaders at home and abroad.

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The inaugural class of the Women's Initiative Fellowship program gathered at Southern Methodist University to share what they've learned on the American leg of the international program.

The fourteen Egyptian participants spent a month in the United States learning different ways to network and develop their leadership abilities. They took classes at SMU and visited several corporations in Washington D.C., New York City and the Silicon Valley.

They will return to Egypt on Friday, building upon their American networks and fostering new relationships with other companies and individuals in their region.

Former First Lady Laura Bush delivered the keynote address.

"When you educate and empower women, their involvement in their society betters the lives of their families, it strengthens their communities and it improves the stability of their countries," Bush said.

The women expressed their excitement but also recognized the challenges that they will face once they return home.

Amany Eid is currently in the process of building a network of volunteers for Egyptian organizations. After the revolution, she witnessed the patriotic nature of Egyptians and wanted to provide a method for them to get involved with their community.

She recognizes that there will be challenges, but she's ready to make a difference.

"At the back of my mind, I think, it's probably going to be about selling the win-win," Eid said. What's in it for all of us as people living in Egypt."

She will have the opportunity to develop those skills over the next year and implement them long after the program ends.

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