Secondary school girls from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia arrived in Washington D.C. this week to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange programme.
Launched in 2012, the four-week programme aims to empower girls in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to pursue higher education and careers through hands-on skills development training with American technology leaders.
TechGirls is a US Department of State initiative that brings 52 young women (ages 15-17) from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tajikistan, Tunisia and Uzbekistan to the US for a 3-week international exchange program designed to empower young girls from the Middle East and North Africa to pursue careers in science and technology.
A high light of their stay is meeting the US Youth Ambassadors as you live and learn together at Virginia Tech.
Central Asia was added to the programme for the first time this year, expanding on the programme’s mission to provide more opportunities for girls to improve their STEM skills and positively impact their communities.
The TechGirls exchange strengthens American national and economic security by empowering girls with the technical skills and strategic relationships to lead in a global economy.
The programme’s centrepiece will be a 12-day Java coding camp with American peers at Virginia Tech’s interactive labs in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The TechGirls participants will also visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and experience life with an American family for a weekend in southern Virginia.
Public and private sector organisations will mentor the TechGirls, offering them insights into STEM careers.
Legacy International, the Department of State’s implementing partner for the programme, has teamed up with a number of partners, including AT&T, Echo & Co, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Flatiron School, Islamic Relief, NPR, Vox Media, 1901 Group, Nlock.one, Excella, Ozmo, Qualtrax Inc, and Joba Design.
TechGirls exchange alumnae, now totalling 186, have trained more than 3,500 peers in their home countries and have pursued studies at leading institutions around the world.
This network of alumnae supports the U.S. commitment to empowering women worldwide through STEM education.