Every spring, TechWomen sends delegations of community members to two of our program countries. The purpose of these journeys is to provide a platform for the fellows in those countries to network with mentors and peers who can support their initiatives, while also amplifying passion projects, strengthening and expanding ties, and bringing the program to people in that region who have not yet had a chance to engage with TechWomen.
This spring, one of our delegation destinations was the awe-inspiring Republic of Kazakhstan. Come along with us as we revisit six days of wonder, talent and hospitality along our journey through this stunning and innovative nation.
The 2023 TechWomen delegates arrived on a surprisingly sunny April weekend this spring, greeted by the vibrant, green city of Almaty, a quietly bustling urban center ringed by majestic, snow-capped mountains. More than 25 mentors, fellows and staff from the U.S., Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Lebanon poured into the largest city in Kazakhstan, gearing up for a week of multilateral mentorship, bonding and socio-cultural exchange with our nearly 40-strong community of Kazakh alumnae and their in-country partners.
The delegation trip launched with a brief morning orientation led by IIE staff and Kazakh fellows, followed by a day of awe-inspiring cultural exploration. The journey started with a driving tour led of the city of Almaty led by Advantour, during which delegates learned about the many ethnicities and cultures that make up the people of Kazkahstan, as well as the historical influences responsible for the fascinating mix of Neoclassical, Brutalist and Traditional architectural styles that characterize the structures of the city.
The delegation soon arrived at the Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen for a historical walking tour and a brief visit to the Russian Orthodox Ascencion Church. Supplementing the tour guide, Kazakh and Central Asian fellows graciously fielded questions and engaged the foreign delegates with socio-historical context on various topics that came up along the way.
From there, the delegation made a quick stop to explore Zeleny Bazar, where some wandered the colorful rows of spice and fruit vendors while others dashed into the goods market to browse the souvenirs.
After a filling lunch at NINO Restaurant, the delegation journeyed into the Medeu Valley of the Zailiisky Alatau mountains to enjoy breathtaking gondola rides and sightseeing at Shymbulak ski resort.
In the evening, the delegation made one final stop, winding 1,100 meters above sea level up the curving roads of Mount Kok Tobe to Inzhu Gourmet Restaurant. There, the group enjoyed spectacular panoramic views of the sun setting on Almaty as they dined on traditional cuisine, got to know each other better and mentally prepared for the following day’s delegation events.