Yesterday, we held the final TechWomen presentations by the 37 Mentees from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories. A year ago, when the Anita Borg Institute staff and I first started working toward this goal with the Institute of International Education, we hoped that this program would further ABI’s Mission to:
* increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology, and
* increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.
I still think TechWomen will do that. What I didn’t know was how the program would powerfully effect the lives of these particular women, and how we who have worked with them would ourselves be changed by their passion, dedication, and energy. When I listened closely to yesterday’s 37 five-minute talks, I heard many Mentees call the TechWomen group their new sisters, friends for life.
The King in Shakespeare’s Henry V, famously speaks of “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”. In TechWomen, we have created a “band of sisters” who I believe will indeed change our world for the better. I have been honored to help teach and support them and I will watch their accomplishments for many years with great pride. They have stolen my heart.
Next week, we enter into the pomp of Washington, D.C. The program participants will be honored at the U.S. State Department by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has generously supported the program from the start. This interim for public celebration comes between the learning and stretching we have all experienced here in the Silicon Valley and the harder work of making new dreams real when the Mentees go home to the Middle East and North Africa.
Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson