TechWomen, US State Dept, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Rabat, Morocco, March 31, 2014) — This month, TechWomen Mentors, alumnae Emerging Leaders, and staff traveled to Morocco to meet with local technology leaders, female entrepreneurs, and students in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) fields.
In addition to exploring the STEM professional landscape in Morocco, the delegation experienced the vibrancy of Moroccan history and culture in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, and Fez.
The TechWomen delegation trips bring the program full-circle and give Mentors from the United States and Emerging Leaders from Africa and the Middle East the opportunity to partake in a variety of cultural and professional activities in TechWomen program countries, allowing for true, two-way cultural exchange to occur between participants while also strengthening TechWomen’s global network of women leaders in STEM fields.
The trip began with a tour of the capital city of Rabat. The delegation visited many historical sites, such as the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Chellah (a Roman ruin and Islamic burial place), the ancient fortress at the Kasbah des Oudais, and the Old Medina.
The day ended with a group dinner at the home of 2013 Emerging Leader Nezha Larhrissi, where Mentors reconnected with Emerging Leaders while enjoying lively local music and traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Before the conference, members of the delegation dined at Rick’s Café – a re-creation of the bar made famous in the classic movie Casablanca.
Afterwards, delegates took in the breathtaking and monumental Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country, and an international symbol of Morocco.
The culminating cultural experience of the Morocco delegation trip was a visit to the city of Fez on the final day of the program.
Other cultural treasures the delegates visited included the oldest operating university in the world, University of al-Karaouine, and the opulent façade of the Royal Palace, the former residence of the sultan. With its high walls and elaborately designed bronze doors, the Royal Palace serves as a reminder of the rich history that remains intact in every city of Morocco.
This trip gave TechWomen the chance to learn about opportunities for women in STEM, engage with local leaders, and explore the culture of the Morocco. It was filled with unforgettable exchanges and experiences, and the hospitality of the Moroccan people shined through in all of the sites and cities visited.
Many Mentors in the delegation said that this experience opened their eyes to the amazing things that women and girls in the region are accomplishing in the STEM fields, and expressed their eagerness to meet and mentor the 2014 cohort of TechWomen Emerging Leaders this October.
I am interested in learning new horizons and applications of technology that are changing the world just by a click. In the Arab world, there is lack of confidence in women because they are not aware of recent technological advancements. I want bring this experience of TechWomen to my country so that I can teach and train the future generations of my country in order to be on equal footing with the United States.
I hope to start new projects with new innovative ideas that will serve as a bridge between Morocco and the United States. I would like to have experience interacting with competent mentors, scholars and professionals. We can initiate suitable innovative projects for women that will help women of third world countries take part in technological advancements.
In my career, my mentors always guided me to have awareness about technological advancements. They encouraged me to speak on various platforms relevant to leadership and technology in order to represent my country. In my life, my mother has inpired me a lot. She has done a lot for me to acquire higher education. She always encouraged me to study information technology because it is constantly changing the world. She supports me as I try my best to teach and encourage other women in society. I am ambitiously seeking to be successul as a leader and technologist.
Arabic, French, English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean
It is time for a change. After 14 years of professional experience, I needed to change, learn new things and explore new perspectives. The TechWomen program comes at the right time; with the great opportunity to interact with female role models in the technology field, I will be inspired by their life experience.
I hope to work on new technology fields other than telecommunications. I hope also to get advice from mentors on new perspectives to boost one’s career into entrepreneurship and more executive and senior-level positions.
My former manager, Sari Kola-Nystrom, has inspired met the most. She used to say, “A job is what you make of it.” She has been an inspiration for me for her always-positive attitude, her energetic drive and her exceptional leadership skills. Her career is international; she managed to lead in executive roles across different continents. Her expertise in telecommunications combined with great presentation skills are an asset that make her a knowledgeable expert on stage.
Arabic, French, English, some Spanish
By participating in the TechWomen program, I aim to: train researchers to enable them to teach qualified engineers, technicians and managers to fit the growing needs of the Moroccan renewable energy industry; connect Moroccan research activity to international research and development programs, particularly in the Polydisciplinary of Ouarzazate; acquire equipment for training; and promote exchange between researchers and operators involved in the Moroccan renewable energy sector.
I am an associate professor at Ibn Zohr University, Polydisciplinary of Ouarzazate. In parallel with my research activities, I taught several subjects ranging from electrical engineering to electronics and computer science. This teaching experience proved very beneficial for me since it confirmed my knowledge and allowed me to find my vocation in these areas. During my education, I was particularly inspired by doing community work. I have been inspired to do my best for my students by supervising several projects and serving as an example.
Arabic, French, English, Spanish
The mission of TechWomen is to empower, connect, and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by providing them access and opportunity to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and become role models for women and girls in their communities.
TechWomen brings emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa and the Middle East together with their professional counterparts in the United States for a mentorship and exchange program. TechWomen provides participants access to networks, resources, and knowledge to empower them to reach their full potential.
During the five-week program, participants engage in project-based mentorships at leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, participate in professional development workshops and networking events, and travel to Washington, D.C. for targeted meetings and special events to conclude the program.
Over the last two years, seventy-eight women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen participated in TechWomen. In 2013, the TechWomen program expanded to include women from Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
The TechWomen experience doesn’t end in California or Washington, D.C. After the program, Emerging Leaders and Mentors have the opportunity to reconnect during delegation trips to program countries in Africa and the Middle East. Programming focuses on expanding networks of women in the STEM fields, creating and strengthening partnerships, encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers, and ensuring the sustainability of Mentor-Emerging Leader relationships.
TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry
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