TechWomen staff, representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and 20 Mentors from leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area arrived in Morocco on Saturday, March 8 for the second of two TechWomen delegation trips to Africa and the Middle East this year.
The 14 Bay Area companies represented include Twitter, salesforce.com, and Intuit. Among the Mentors in this delegation, seven also participated in the 2014 TechWomen Delegation Trip to Rwanda, which took place February 7-14.
Joining the delegation from the United States are alumnae Emerging Leaders from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestinian Territories who participated in the 2011, 2012, and 2013, TechWomen programs. Alongside the Mentors, they will lead workshops for women and girls on topics ranging from leadership, careers in STEM fields, and work-life balance.
The delegation is based in Rabat and will spend one week meeting with U.S. Embassy representatives, Moroccan government officials, technology companies, female entrepreneurs, and secondary school and university students in the capital city and Casablanca.
In addition to encouraging women and girls in Morocco to pursue careers in STEM, gaining exposure to the professional landscape in Morocco, and creating awareness about the TechWomen program, this delegation trip serves as an opportunity for Mentors and Emerging Leaders to reconnect. On Sunday, March 9—the first day of the trip—the delegation toured Rabat, visiting historic and cultural sites including the Chellah, Kasbah des Oudaias, the Old Medina, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
In the evening, the group enjoyed dinner at the home of Nezha Larhrissi, a 2013 alumna from Morocco. Welcomed with an energizing performance by a traditional musical troupe, the delegation was greeted by the hostess, dressed in a beautiful, ornate kaftan (a traditional, robe-like dress).
For many of the delegates who participated in different years of the program, this gathering represented their first meeting. Surrounded with delicious Moroccan food, a spur-of-the-moment kaftan fashion show, live music, dancing, singing, mint tea, and warm, Moroccan hospitality, the delegation spent the night catching up with each other and discussed various ways to continue supporting each other, as well as future generations of TechWomen, both personally and professionally. At the end of the day, the delegation left the hostess’ home in excellent spirits and excited for the rest of the trip.