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The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce a collaboration between Arizona State University (ASU), its Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation.  The collaboration will support the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) and its efforts to advance women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, ASU President Michael Crow, and Freeport-McMoRan Foundation President Tracy Bame signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today in Phoenix.  The MOU represents a commitment to developing the skills of prospective women entrepreneurs, through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), by utilizing the DreamBuilder course, which was jointly developed by Freeport-McMoRan and ASU.

“AWE is a proven and successful global program empowering women entrepreneurs,” said Assistant Secretary Royce. “We’ve been inspired by AWE stories around the world and are excited to expand the program to over 50 countries this year with the support of key partnerships like this one.”

In 2019, ECA created and implemented AWE to support the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. In its inaugural year, AWE was implemented in twenty-six countries across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Spain and Papua New Guinea to reach over 2,000 women. AWE is designed as an educational opportunity for prospective women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners that uses the DreamBuilder platform to teach fundamental business skills.

Participants form cohorts that meet in person to network and learn from one another.  Facilitators, chosen from successful ECA alumni, business leaders, or other experts, lead sessions to localize business principles and ensure application of lessons learned in real-time.  In each country where AWE exists, trade fairs, expositions, additional training, and other relevant engagements build on the AWE-experience to foster business development and momentum for future growth.

For more information, please contact


U.S. Department of State

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