Born in East Africa of Indian parentage and expelled from her country during a time of political turmoil in her youth, Amber Chand has developed a profound interest in issues affecting women's empowerment and economic security around the world and in the role of business as a transformational agent for social change and peace building.
Chand is the Founder of The Women's Peace Collection, a social enterprise that supports women's micro-enterprises primarily in regions of conflict and post-conflict. Her company offers high quality, meaningful gifts created by talented craftswomen who are rebuilding their lives in the shadows of war, genocide, civil strife, and crippling poverty. As a refugee-entrepreneur, Chand is keenly aware of the challenges that women (and men) face when they have lost their possessions and homes.
A major focus of Chand's work is to support peace-building initiatives offering crafts as a symbolic expression for reconciliation. She is one of the original architects and designers of the Jerusalem Candle of Hope and Candle of Peace & Prosperity, a remarkable collaboration taking place today between Palestinian and Israeli craftswomen. She has more recently launched The 100 Women: 100 Hopes Campaign Darfur, an initiative that supports women who are struggling in one of the largest refugee camps in Western Darfur to earn a dignified livelihood under extremely challenging circumstances. The Darfur Basket of Strength and Darfur Peace Baskets created by these women symbolize their hopes for a secure future.
The Women's Peace Collection currently works with artisans in areas such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Burma, Cambodia, Israel, Palestine, Colombia, Bolivia, Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan and Nepal. To support this work further, The Amber Chand Fund was created in 2009, as a vehicle to offer women in these regions micro finance grants to create and grow their enterprises.
Amber has been widely recognized for her work around the world and for her humanitarian business model. In 2008 she was inducted into the Business Women's Hall of Fame by Baypath College. Her Rwanda journals were published by Marie Claire Magazine, and Inc Magazine voted her entreprenuer of the month. Other examples of national media attention for Amber's work include articles in the Herald Tribune (European Edition), Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe, and interviews by CNN News and most recently NPR.
Professional affiliations include:
Chand is a founding member of the Business Council for Peace, an entity that grew out of the Global Peace Initiative for Women Spiritual and Religious Leaders and a partner of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women). She is an active member of the Business Advisory Council for Women for Women International, a global organization supporting women in regions of conflict. She is a Board Member of Barka Foundation, an NGO that works on indigenous enterprise in Burkina Faso. She sits on the International Advisory Group for Spirituality in Business Network based in Copenhagen, Denmark and was recently invited to be an Ambassador for AWE - Accelerating Women Enterpreneurs, an organization that works with women entreprenuers around the world. In 2006, she was invited to join the Wise Women Circle at the World Bank/IFC, an advisory group that supports micro-craft enterprises around the world.
Among her many speaking engagements:
Panelist: Entrepreneurship as a new model for business. Harvard Business School, Social Entrepreneurship Club. March 2011
Speaker: “The Feminine Paradigm for Business: Innovative strategies that support, sustain and strengthen our businesses.”
Women’s Summit 2009, Bryant University, Rhode Island, 2009.
Keynote Speaker: Spirituality and Business Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2008.
Faculty Member: 5th Annual Women, Power and Peace Conference, Omega Institute, NY, held by the Women’s Institute at Omega, V-Day and the Women Peace Laureate Organization, 2008.
Panelist: Economists for Peace and Security Conference, Bard College, 2008
Panelist: World Bank/IFC sponsored event for International Day of Peace, 2007
Panelist at the World Bank Artisan Enterprise Learning Forum, Washington, D.C.(2000)
Examples of Overseas Missions include:
Peru and Bolivia: Member on an World Bank/IFC funded mission to identify and speak to selected artisan groups in Peru and Bolivia, 2004.
Israel and Palestine: Member of a Business Council of Peace mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories to develop and design a collaborative crafts-based project in a region of conflict. This led to the subsequent launch of the Jerusalem Candle of Hope, 2004.
Rwanda: Panelist on a United Nations-sponsored panel asked to address the youth of Rwanda on A Case Study of a Socially Responsible U.S. based Business, 2003.