Meridian International Center features Sub-Saharan artisanship at African Women Entrepreneurship Program Product Showcase

For Immediate Release

Washington D.C.: For the second year, Meridian International Center, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, is hosting a product showcase on Friday, July 13th to highlight the business leadership of 22 distinguished African women entrepreneurs from 13 Sub-Saharan countries who have been selected to participate in the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP).

Meridian has worked with the U.S. Department of State to administer international exchange programs, most notably the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which brings approximately 5,000 current and emerging leaders from around the world annually to meet with, learn from, and exchange views with their professional peers in the U.S. The goal of the IVLP is to provide firsthand knowledge about U.S. society, culture, and politics, while cultivating lasting relationships.

The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program is a signature IVLP program that aims to address the importance of and build a pipeline for women’s business leadership. Globally, women make up 40 percent of the global workforce, yet only own about 1 percent of the world’s wealth. Through AWEP, the U.S. Department of State identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs across Sub-Saharan Africa poised to transform their societies by owning, running, and operating businesses, and by becoming voices for social advocacy in their communities. Meridian has implemented AWEP since its inception in 2010.

This year’s AWEP cohort was nominated for their leadership in business areas of agriculture, accessories, and apparel. They will arrive to Washington, D.C. on July 9th to begin their program before traveling to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and then splitting by sector for continued travels in Portland, San Diego, and Atlanta, respectively, before ending the program in Chicago. Meridian’s second annual AWEP Product Showcase on Friday, July 13th will provide the women an opportunity to display products, network, and share their inspirational stories with the Washington community and Meridian’s network of global leaders.

About Meridian International Center

Meridian International Center, founded in 1960, is a leading non-partisan, not-for-profit public diplomacy and global leadership institution that strengthens U.S. engagement with the world and builds global leaders through the exchange of people, ideas and culture. We believe that the United States is stronger at home when globally engaged, setting the tone for collaboration and consensus building across nations for the formation of a more secure and prosperous world for all.

Meridian works with the U.S. government, the private sector and the diplomatic community to create innovative exchange, training, culture and convening programs that advance three goals:

  • Strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange
  • Prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future
  • Provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors

For inquiries on the International Visitor Leadership Program, contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at

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