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‘TechGirls’ From the Middle East and North Africa Head To the U.S. to Participate in Summer Exchange Program

Twenty-eight teenage girls ages 15-17 from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia have been chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange program. TechGirls is an international exchange program that was launched by Hillary Clinton in 2011 as an educational initiative for young girls from predominantly Muslim countries interested in technology. The TechGirls program aims to empower young girls from around the world in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

This year’s summer program will be from July 12-August 3. During their three weeks in the United States, the participants will get opportunities to strengthen and develop technical skills which will help them with their future careers.

According to the press release of the program, the TechGirls participants will attend leadership and project management workshops at  Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and in Washington, D.C. The teens will also get the opportunity to participate in an “eight-day, interactive technology and coding camp conducted by the Department of Computer Science Training, participate in a day of job shadowing with top tech companies in the Washington, D.C.-area, and engage in community service activities.”

According to Mara Tekach, a previous U.S. deputy assistant  secretary of state for professional and cultural exchanges, the young girls “are developing a foundation of skills, experience, and networks that can lead to higher education and future career opportunities,” she also states,  “Upon returning home, alumnae influence hundreds of more students to become TechGirls and promote a positive vision for their countries and the region.”

Since the launch of the program six years ago, 130 alumnae have used the skills that they developed through the program to train more than 2,300 peers in their home countries. “The achievements of these alumnae and the talent of the incoming class contribute to the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world, as well as STEM education.”

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