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TechWomen Gets Underway, As Second Decade of Mentorship Exchange Begins

Leveraging technology as a vehicle for progress and change, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that the newest cohort of 104 international TechWomen have arrived in the United States to begin their mentorship program with professional women leaders at U.S.-based science and technology companies in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area. TechWomen, the Department’s premier exchange program for women in STEM, was an answer to former President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech that called for a ‘New Beginning’ between the U.S. and the Muslim world, with a focus on increased engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since its inception in 2012, across three presidential administrations and five Secretaries of State, TechWomen has expanded beyond the Middle East and North African region to include Southeast Asian and Sub-Saharan African nations.

For the next four weeks, these international TechWomen will be paired with U.S. women in STEM fields at technology companies for a mentoring program that results in action plans that are implemented upon their return to their home country. For example, TechWomen from Lebanon developed science-based groundwater quality management policy and sanitation guidelines for accessing safe water to address the water crisis in parts of the country. A TechWomen participant from Kenya created a firm that brings green energy products to off-grid communities in the country. Her company uses innovative roofing tiles that serve a dual function, both roofing and powering homes that did not otherwise have access to electricity.

In addition to this year’s mentoring program, the Department will utilize the power to convene to bring together nearly 1,000 women in technology on October 20 in San Francisco to celebrate the first 10 years of TechWomen, as well as look forward to the decade ahead. TechWomen will conclude their five-week mentorship and cultural exchange in Washington, DC, on October 27.


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