To celebrate Women’s History month this year, Thunderbird for Good is publishing a series of blogs putting the spotlight on our own women history makers – our scholars! In the past 9 years since our founding, Thunderbird for Good has created and run training programs that have reached well over 100,000 women from 25 countries on 4 continents. These scholars have gone on to create thousands of jobs, train tens of thousands of others in business and management skills, and strengthen the communities where they live. Read on to find out more about these modern women history makers and what they have been accomplishing since their Thunderbird for Good training experience.

Written by: Anick Bizimana, Presidential Fellow, '14

Lina Khalifeh is the founder of SheFighter ( ), a self-defense studio for women designed to empower women both physically and physiologically through self-defense training in Jordan.

Lina, a former Taekwondo champion, first came to Glendale, Arizona in October 2009, as a participant of the Supporting Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Development Seminars (SEEDS) – a program designed to support women entrepreneurs start or grow their business. In partnership with the USAID and the Business Development Centre in Jordan (, Thunderbird for Good delivered business skills training to a diverse group of Jordanian women with big ideas and entrepreneurial aspirations. Along with fourteen other women from Jordan, Lina learned the fundamentals of how to start a business including the art of writing a business plan. She also gained practical knowledge from Julie Jones, her Phoenix mentor – an accomplished marketing Executive on how to build a winning marketing plan.

Upon returning home, Lina decided to combine her new entrepreneurial skills with her love of physical activity to empower women. In April 2010, Lina opened the first 1st self-defense studio designed to empower women through both mental and physical training. She started with two clients and now has four women trainers and has trained over 5000 women in Jordan in self-defense techniques. At her studio, she has designed a program tailored specially for women and girls to meet their expectations and fitness goals in this modern age. Lina strongly believes that self-defense techniques will not only give women the opportunity to defend themselves in difficult situations, but will also build up their self-esteem. This is why her training has evolved to include seminars on harassment.

In 2013, Lina became of one of twenty Laureate Global Fellows (, all young founders/CEOs who have pioneered cutting-edge solutions to urgent societal challenges. Fellow projects are distinguished by their innovative approaches, their proven track records for success, and their potential to be sustainable over the long-term. Lina hopes to continue to grow her business and spread messages that empower women and reduce violence against women.