By the time Shahla was thirty years old she had lived through three wars in her native country of Iraq. The last of these devastated her beloved Baghdad and sent her into a depression. Things turned around dramatically for her when she answered an ad in the newspaper to work for Counterpart International, an American non-governmental organization that was doing reconstruction work in Iraqi communities devastated by the war. Short on experience but long on willingness, knowledge of the local customs, and deep love for her country made Shahla a perfect fit to lead a team of locals. As a woman, her hardest job was gaining the trust of the male tribal leaders. In four months, Shahla’s team completed 26 reconstruction projects, all under the radar of the active American military forces, the unpredictable insurgents and terrorists, and the Ba’ath Party officials of Saddam Hussein. Other legacies she left these communities were 1400 new jobs, valuable training in conflict resolution, and a strong sense of pride and hope for themselves and their country.