Tag Archives: Palestine

Crafts and Souvenirs from Egypt

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson.

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TechWomen Delegation to Egypt

Katy Dickinson TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

I was honored to join the TechWomen Delegation to Egypt: my tenth TechWomen Delegation. TechWomen is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. We had an inspiring and enjoyable trip.  I got back to the USA a few days ago and am still getting used to California’s time zone (but am enjoying our clean air!).

Some of us mentors arrived in Egypt early so that we could acclimatize and see the sights.  I was part of a group that toured Alexandria on 24 February, the day before the Delegation officially started.  We had three flat tires on the road but were able to visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century fortress on the Mediterranean sea coast on the eastern point of the Pharos Island. It was erected on the exact site of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Some of the lighthouse stones were used to build the fort.  We also saw the remarkable 2002 Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria) and the Montaza Palace.

Katy Dickinson at the Citadel, Alexandria Egypt Feb 2018 aty Dickinson at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria Egypt Feb 2018

The first day of the Delegation, we had a short tour of Giza and Cairo. The Great Pyramid is another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I was delighted to discover so many of us Mentors and Fellows from the inaugural 2011 class of TechWomen were part of the Delegation.  We also welcomed Fellows from Lebanon, Libya, South Africa, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan, and Kenya.  All three of the 2011 mentees who were hosted at my company were part of the Delegation: Sukaina Al-Nasrawi and Maha Akkari (Lebanon), and Reham Nasser (Egypt).  I was delighted to catch up with 2011 mentees Maysoun Ibrahim and Huda Alwahidi from Palestine, as well as Eman Ezzat, Ghada Bahig and others from Egypt. Sukaina and Maysoun and Reham have been on TechWomen Delegations before but I had not seen Maha for years.  The Delegation included mentees from all TechWomen years, although Lara Chikhani (from my Team Lebanon) was the only Fellow who came from 2017. I was very happy to see Sara Abdelhafez (Egypt) for the first time since she was hosted at my company in 2012 – and to meet her new son who came to our Farewell Dinner on a Nile river boat.

Giza, TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 Sphinx, TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018
We were very busy during the Delegation, sometimes being on the bus as early at 7:30 am and getting back to our Cairo hotel in the Zamalek district at 10:30 pm.  Activities during which we interacted with hundreds of girls, women, entrepreneurs, and technologists included:

  • Briefing from U.S. Embassy (Monday, Feb 26)
  • The Power of Mentorship at the American Center (Monday, Feb 26)
  • Meet & Greet with U.S. Embassy Colleagues (Monday, Feb 26)
  • Workshops with Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship at the GrEEK Campus (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Pitch Practice and Speed Geek Sessions at the GrEEK Campus (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Girls in STEM Career Fair at Mentor Graphics (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Networking Reception at the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center – TIEK (Wednesday, Feb 28)
  • Discussions with Professionals in STEM at Vodafone (Wednesday, Feb 28)
  • Hands-on STEM Activities at High School (Thursday, March 1)
  • From Silicon Valley to the Nile: Soft Skills Workshops at the American University in Cairo – AUC (Thursday, March 1)
  • Reception with U.S. Embassy at INJAZ (Thursday, March 1)
  • Visit with Teenpreneurs at FabLab Egypt (Friday, March 2)
  • Professional Development Sessions with Alwan wa Awtar – AWA – Youth at Montessori Mokattam (Friday, March 2)

We were delighted to visit many projects started and supported by TechWomen Fellows in Egypt. Cairo traffic is as bad as that of the Silicon Valley so we spent about 1-1/2 hours on the bus to get from event to event. We enjoyed the time to catch up with dear friends and learn more about each other.  Unfortunately, over half of the delegation came down with a respiratory illness and fever so we had to swap speaking slots quite a bit. On Monday, I gave a TED-style talk about mentoring then lead a panel discussing mentoring at the US Embassy’s American Center. Later, I helped Jill Finlayson teach girls to brainstorm and develop solutions to community problems, lead another discussion at AUC with Mohna Dhomse on how to Find a Mentor, joined a panel about life challenges, and gave two talks with Rekha Pai-Kamath on self-branding.  All of us in the Delegation participated in speed geek sessions at several venues.

The day after the Delegation ended, groups of us Mentors and Fellows were able to tour the amazing Egyptian Museum and get some shopping done in the old city of Cairo – with 2015 Fellow Doaa ElEraqy of Egypt as our patient guide and negotiator.

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018

 TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson, TechWomen, and Lara Chikhani.

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Honoring STEM Mentoring

ECR Simple Servant Award to Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017

At the 37th Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real annual convention last weekend, I was honored by Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves with a second Simple Servant Award for my work since 2010 with the TechWomen mentoring program of the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award certificate reads:

Simple Servant Award
Presented on November 3, 2017 to
Katy Dickinson
The Diocese of El Camino Real honors you. May God bless you for your
faithful ministry mentoring women in Africa and the Middle East in STEM
professions, and for your contribution to the creation of a “virtuous cycle” of
knowledge and wisdom sharing in the world of technology.

It has been an honor and pleasure to work with TechWomen and my mentees from Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Watching this program thrive and touch so many lives is a great delight. Since I worked in 2010-2011 as the TechWomen Process Architect, I have been a volunteer with this life-changing program as a mentor, working with groups of STEM leaders who travel to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley to be hosted by 122 science and technology companies and organizations for a month (and then continue a mentoring relationship once they have returned to their home country).

Beginning with the first cohort of 37 from 6 countries in 2011, there have been 518 TechWomen Fellows from 22 countries and 698 mentors. I have formally been assigned to mentor 14 women in Lebanon, Algeria, Gaza-Palestine, Jordan, and Tunisia – and have worked with many more who have asked me to be their mentor. I have also participated in nine formal TechWomen Delegations with the State Department, to: Jordan (twice), Kyrgyzstan, Morocco (twice), Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe, as well as making informal trips with TechWomen mentors to visit our mentees in Lebanon, Gaza-Palestine, and Sierra Leone.  Learning from my sister mentors as well as from my mentees is part of the joy and value of this excellent program for Citizen Diplomats.

Want to make a different in STEM? Please consider joining TechWomen as a mentor yourself!

ECR Convention Simple Servant award Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017 by Elrond Lawrence

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Photo Copyright 2017 by the Diocese of El Camino Real, Elrond Lawrence.

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TechWomen Community Cycle

Mai Temraz and Katy Dickinson at Cal State San Bernardino August 2016

The TechWomen mentoring program has been since 2010 a big part of my annual planning. 90 Emerging Leaders from 19 countries in Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East will arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in about ten days to start working at local STEM companies.  I am already working with the 6 ELs from Tunisia as one of their 3 Impact Advisors. Our Impact Advisory group has been meeting remotely every Friday – I look forward to meeting the Tunisia ladies in person soon.  The 2016 Emerging Leaders will be in the USA until mid-October, returning home after a visit to Washington DC.

I am also enjoying supporting one of my 2014 mentees, TechWomen Fellow and Fulbright Fellow Mai Temraz from Gaza, who will be starting her MBA at Cal State San Bernardino next month.  Several of us visited Mai and her family in Gaza City earlier this year.  The Temraz family is staying with us in San Jose while Mai goes through orientation at UC Davis.  Last weekend, my daughter Jessica, Mai, and I did a road trip to help find an apartment in San Bernardino and to see the Cal State campus.  In a few weeks, the Temraz family will move to Southern California.

TechWomen is more than an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it has become a beloved community and extended family for many of its participants.

Walaa, Mai, and Yazan Temraz in San Jose, California, August 2016
Walaa, Mai, and Yazan Temraz in San Jose, California, August 2016

TechWomen Eileen Brewer, Erin Keeley, Aliya Janjua, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Mai Temraz, Katy Dickinson in Gaza City February 2016
TechWomen Erin Keeley, Eileen Brewer, Mai Temraz, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Katy Dickinson, and Aliya Janjua in Gaza City, February 2016

TechWomen Seham Al-Jaafreh, Mai Temraz, Katy Dickinson, San Bruno Park, California, October 2014
TechWomen Seham Al-JaafrehMai Temraz, and Katy Dickinson, San Bruno Park, California, October 2014

TechWomen in Tunisia with Impact Advisors in California August 2016
TechWomen in Tunisia, with Impact Advisors in California, August 2016

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Images Copyright 2014-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Alumnae Resources

Mai Temraz Gaza February 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page is now available, presenting recommendations and references to materials helpful to technical women stuck in place because of politics or personal circumstances. So far, TechWomen Alumnae Resources topics include:

More topics are being developed.  This resource was created as a result of discussions on 12 February 2016 during the TechWomen Jordan Delegation’s Unconference at the Dead Sea.  The session I lead was called “Supporting TechWomen Fellows in Conflict Zones”. A group of nine TechWomen Fellows, Mentors, and supporters from the Middle East and USA started by discussing how to support TechWomen Fellows in conflict zones – especially Gaza, Yemen, and Libya – but we soon expanded our scope to consider those stuck at home because of severe family illness or other care taking responsibilities.  That is, these are ideas / resources / programs to benefit TechWomen Mentors and Fellows who are stuck in place.  This was not about getting them out but rather helping them remain professionally active where they are.  The five categories in which we felt that support could be offered / maintained and would be most helpful are:

  1. Entrepreneurship – training, startup feedback, recommendations to funding sources.
  2. Outsourcing – recommendations on finding / developing professional work that could be done where they are.
  3. Starting and managing local mentoring programs.
  4. Professional visibility and volunteerism:
  5. Recommendations and introductions:

The top photo shows my 2014 TechWomen mentee, Mai Temraz, with her Grace Hopper Conference bag and gifts in Gaza City, in February 2016.  We carried these gifts to her because she could attend the October 2015 GHC15 conference in-person to accept her award as 2015 Change Agent ABIE.  Being stuck in place is part of life in Gaza City.  Remarkable technical leaders like Mai are the inspiration for the TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page.

Image Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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Videos from Jordan, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan TechWomen Delegations

Cathy Simpson Evelyn Zoubi TechWomen Delegation mansaf April 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Council held a reunion for the Jordan, Zimbabwe, and Kazakhstan Delegations on 26 April 2016, hosted by AOL in San Mateo, California (in the Silicon Valley).  TechWomen Director Arezoo Riahi  reported that the three Delegations (of 37 Mentors from the US and almost 50 Fellow from 13 countries) together reached 1,925 girls and women.

John Plocher taped the inspiring personal and professional reports by IIE staff and Delegation members: the set of 11 videos is now available.  You can also watch the individual videos:

  1. Arezoo Riahi – opening, Delegations report, update on 2015 and 2016 TechWomen cohorts
  2. Audrey Simpson, Cindy Cooley, Cathy Simpson, Evelyn Zoubi – update on TechWomen Alumnae Council, and how to make Jordanian mansaf
  3. Katy Dickinson – Jordan, Palestine, Zimbabwe, and update on TechWomen Alumnae Resources
  4. Rekha Pai – Kazakhstan
  5. Rebecca Biswas – Kazakhstan
  6. Teresa Zhang – Kazakhstan
  7. Molly Pyle – Zimbabwe
  8. Sarasija Parthasarthy – Kazakhstan
  9. Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries – Zimbabwe
  10. Zhilan Zweiger – Zimbabwe, Kenya
  11. Mary Karam McKey – “All Protocols Observed”

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Rebecca Biswas TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Where We Stayed in Palestine

Hebron Palestine 2016

In February 2016 when traveling in Palestine, I had some hard priorities for where our group of TechWomen mentors stayed:

  1. Safety
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Wifi available
  4. Expense – affordability
  5. Charm, local style

Gaza City

In Gaza City, TechWomen Fellow Mai Temraz of Gaza SkyGeeks – MercyCorps kindly arranged for us to stay at the luxurious al-Mashtal Hotel (an ArcMed Hotel – on Salah Khalaf Street, in Gaza), on the beach in the north western area of the city. It was quiet and comfortable with ocean and city views. We could see the fishing boats going out in the morning (and clearly hear the morning Israeli rockets as well). The State of Qatar has its offices in this hotel.

Our group gave a series of presentations at the fancy Roots Hotel in Gaza City. Roots is located on the harbor and would have been more convenient for our meetings but all of the rooms were full for a big event when we were there. Roots has a very pleasant terrace cafe with good food and a waterfront view.

al-Mashtal Hotel, Gaza City, Palestine 2016

al-Mashtal Hotel view, Gaza City, Palestine 2016

Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem

Since we gave business and technical presentations in both Ramallah and Hebron, we decided to stay in Bethlehem, which is more or less between those two cities in the West Bank region.  Bethlehem is a mixed Christian and Muslim city and is close to Jerusalem, so it is easier to get out in case of trouble.  I posted more Bethlehem photos in my Three Border Walls blog post.  In Bethlehem, we were very graciously hosted by TechWomen Fellow Sandra Al-Arja, whose family owns several hotels.  We stayed in the Bethlehem Hotel (which is comfortable with lovely views over the city, near Manger Square) and also visited the Angel Hotel (which was full so we could not stay there).

Bethlehem Hotel key, Palestine 2016

Bethlehem Hotel view, Palestine 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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