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Secretary of State Clinton Honors Women Technology Professionals from Middle East and North Africa at TechWomen Luncheon

On July 6, NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg attended a State Department luncheon hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to honor women in the IT sector from the Middle East and North Africa and their American mentors who participated in the inaugural class of TechWomen, an initiative that harnesses the power of technology and international exchange as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.

(L-R): Center for New Futures' Barbara Fittipaldi, TechWomen participant Hania El Etry, Vital Voices' Mary MacPherson, Bobbie Kilberg, State Department Acting Undersecretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock, TechWomen participant Rayya Abu Ghosh, Embassy of Lebanon First Secretary Toni Frangie and Symantec’s Patricia Bovan-Campbell.
(L-R): Center for New Futures' Barbara Fittipaldi, TechWomen participant Hania El Etry, Vital Voices' Mary MacPherson, Bobbie Kilberg, State Department Acting Undersecretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock, TechWomen participant Rayya Abu Ghosh, Embassy of Lebanon First Secretary Toni Frangie and Symantec’s Patricia Bovan-Campbell.
This groundbreaking State Department professional exchange program, which Secretary Clinton first announced during the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in the spring of 2010, brought 37 technology and innovation professionals from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Territories to the United States for a five-week mentorship with their American counterparts at 24 U.S.-based technology companies. The mentees were in Washington, D.C., before returning to their home countries for a series of panel presentations and discussions of their experiences in the United States.

During the luncheon, Secretary Clinton described the State Department's use of technology as a facilitator in 21st century statecraft, "opening up doors that are otherwise closed," stating that the State Department wants to support software design, engineering projects, and the development and application of new technologies around the globe. She also announced the launch next year of TechGirls, a new program that will bring teenage girls from the Middle East and North Africa for a month of educational activities in the United States, to encourage innovation, promote the spread of new technologies, and provide support for women and girls to become leaders in the technology field.

Twenty-four companies hosted the inaugural TechWomen class, including NVTC members Adobe Systems, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Symantec. Later this year, U.S. mentors will travel to the Middle East and North Africa region to conduct workshops for women in the technology sector and young girls who have expressed an interest in pursuing a tech-based career.