I am proud of my daughter Jessica whose annual Yosemite camping trip for her Palestinian mentees has evolved into a TechWomen tradition. This year, there were enough mentors and mentees for two weekends. I was a driver last weekend, joining about thirty others – many of them camping for the first time. We stopped over in Columbia for lunch on the way to our campsite at Tuttletown. We had a lovely time getting to know each other, figuring out how to raise a tent, singing pop songs, and eating s’mores – and Safa of Libya got to touch a river for the first time ever!
The 108 TechWomen emerging leaders from 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Larissa Brown Shapiro and I were co-mentors for TechWomen Fellow Imen Rahal of Algeria in 2013, giving me some background. So looking forward to this! TechWomen is a program of the US State Department for which I was Process Architect in 2010-2011.
Pictures Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – of gifts from Imen Rahal, 2013. Photo of Katy, Mercedes, and Fatema taken by IIE TechWomen, October 2018. Quote posted by IIE to TechWomen Twitter site, 11 April 2018.
I have been proud to team up with Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari for a third year as TechWomen impact coaches, to work with five remarkable leaders from Morocco: Safaa Boubia, Nisrine Oukacha, Fatima Zzahra Meziane, Fatima Zahra Oumenni, and Imane Nassif. We have been working together since the ladies arrived in September to create Connect to Impact – a new online platform offering resources for nonprofits in Morocco to showcase their actions plans, increase their awareness and access to donors, and in time, improve their skills through fit-for-purpose training. Connect to Impact will provide a bilateral matchmaking algorithm between donors and nonprofit organizations.
Team Morocco presented about Connect to Impact at TechWomen Pitch Day yesterday. We find out at the Community Event on Monday, 22 October 2018, which of the twenty country teams won.
What is TechWomen?
TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
Part of the joy of TechWomen is its large and supportive community. My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman is also a TechWomen mentor, again coaching Team Palestine, which also gave an excellent pitch yesterday. During the intermission, we got to see videos from TechWomen Fellows of prior years, including Solve24, created by our own 2017 Team Lebanon. Wish us luck in winning the pitch competition!
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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson
Marriage Equality: approved a historic resolution giving all Episcopalians the ability to be married by their priests in their home churches
Revising the Book of Common Prayer: adopted a resolution that allows all congregations in the Episcopal Church to use optional, expansive-language versions of three Rite II Eucharistic prayers in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer
The Episcopal Church and the #MeToo movement: voices and stories of women played a significant role, from a liturgy where bishops offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, to passing a resolution so that deputies can to bring babies on the floor of the House of Deputies to feed them
Middle East peace: of 15 resolutions on Israel-Palestine, only six passed both houses, on topics including Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides, and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investment decisions
Part of General Convention is spending casual time with the remarkable people who attend – and visiting Exhibit Hall booths of programs and institutions and vendors. I bought so many books I had to ship them home in a separate box – which has not yet arrived. Pictures below are of some of the other giveaways and publications I collected. On my flight home from Texas to California, I spotted Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing who gave a remarkable talk at GC79. The Rev. Rob Fisher of our Deputation reported that he spent his flight home reading The Agile Church, which he bought at the GC79 Exhibit Hall.
Deputies in wheelchairs and Deputies who find it hard to hear spoke passionately in support of a resolution to “Establish an Advisory Council on Disability and Deaf Access” – which was passed. Deputy Sarah Watkins of Texas said “nothing about us without us.” She and Deputy Charis and others made the point that there had been nine such resolutions passed in General Convention since 1985 but little effective change has been made – perhaps because few who are themselves impaired have been represented in the groups making the decisions. There have been signers for the deaf at House of Deputy and House of Bishop sessions and worship services but not at most other meetings. There was an interesting moment during Tuesday evening’s worship service when flute player Dakota Wind from Standing Rock spoke silently in Lakota signs with the GC79 deaf interpreter on the stage.
Deputy Celeste Ventura allowed me to substitute for her in the House of Deputies in the afternoon. Since I have lived and worked in Israel, and because of my many years of work with the TechWomen of the Middle East, I have been particularly interested in the many resolutions on Israel and Palestine and was glad to be able to testify and vote. Both the Marriage Rites and Israel-Palestine resolutions were approved – and will move to the House of Bishops next.
Our Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves presided in English and Spanish over the evening worship service which, as usual, offered excellent music and a peaceful interlude in a busy day.
During the TechWomen Delegation to Egypt there was very little time for shopping but I did manage to find some presents and souvenirs. Before our Professional Development Sessions with Alwan wa Awtar – AWA – Youth in Cairo, we bought bags, necklaces, and scarves from a young woman who started an embroidery craft and sewing business with her mother. We also stopped by a Carrefour on the way to a meeting, where I found an excellent selection of lovely cotton scarves – not surprising in a country where colorful and well-designed scarves are worn by so many women.
We had time on the day we left to walk through Muizz Street and the shops of the old city in Cairo. I was pleased to purchase a large black shawl with Egyptian hand embroidery, and a Ramadan tablecloth in a colorful primary color pattern we had seen many times as we traveled. I even found some alabaster lamps which will be appreciated as presents, plus a pair of silver earrings for myself. Thanks to 2015 Fellow Doaa ElEraqy of Egypt who was our patient guide and negotiator in the souq.
In addition to these treasures I bought, we Mentors received many kind gifts from the TechWomen Fellows of Egypt. I was also touched and honored to be given souvenirs from Palestine and Lebanon – presents from TechWomen mentees.
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right). Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson.