The TechWomen Tunisia Delegation ended early due to the violence at the Bardo Museum in Tunis on 18 March 2015. Twenty-four delegates from California’s Silicon Valley, plus four IIE San Francisco staff, our Washington DC representative from the US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the forteen TechWomen Fellows from Morocco, Lebanon, Algeria and Tunisia were sad for the families of those killed, and for the people of Tunisia. Some of us took pictures on 19 March holding a sign saying “We Love You Tunisia – We Will Be Back”.
We were sorry that we could not continue our inspiring meetings with technical girls and women but it seemed wise to go home sooner than scheduled. Before the tragic attack that lead to 21 deaths in one of the world’s great museums, we were able to tour (including an afternoon at the Bardo on 15 March), and connect with remarkable leaders in STEM:
- Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability – Entrepreneurship and Social Media Training – 16 March
- Women in Science at the Institute Pasteur de Tunis – 17 March
- Women in Green Technology, hosted by Maya Organization – 17 March
- Technology Workshops with Tunisian Girls hosted by the Youth for Science Foundation – Esprit Innovation Hub – 18 March
Thanks to our TechWomen Fellows in Tunisia who made these meetings possible, including: Ameni Channoufi (Service Manager, PKI operations), Amel Ghoulia (Bioinformatician – Institut Pasteur de Tunis), Olfa Khelifi (Maya Organization President and Founder), and Ines Nasri (Owner, Web Power). Due to the early end to the TechWomen Tunisia Delegation on 18 March, we were not able to participate in Tunisia Digital Day at Cite des Sciences in Tunis; however, some of the TechWomen who were scheduled to speak recorded messages for playback at the event on 19 March. I was happy to be able to distribute all 12 of the Notable Technical Women posters and 30 decks of cards to schools and educators in Tunisia (and Algeria) before I left. Other TechWomen delegates also left their educational materials. We will continue our communications with the impressive technical leaders of Tunisia now that we are home.
The Lufthansa strike made it very difficult to get home earlier. Many of us (finding that there was a two hour phone wait to try to arrange itinerary changes – if calls went through at all) abandoned our original flights and bought new tickets.
Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson