This month, TechWomen Mentors, alumnae Emerging Leaders, and staff traveled to Morocco to meet with local technology leaders, female entrepreneurs, and students in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) fields. In addition to exploring the STEM professional landscape in Morocco, the delegation experienced the vibrancy of Moroccan history and culture in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, and Fez. The TechWomen delegation trips bring the program full-circle and give Mentors from the United States and Emerging Leaders from Africa and the Middle East the opportunity to partake in a variety of cultural and professional activities in TechWomen program countries, allowing for true, two-way cultural exchange to occur between participants while also strengthening TechWomen’s global network of women leaders in STEM fields.
The trip began with a tour of the capital city of Rabat. The delegation visited many historical sites, such as the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Chellah (a Roman ruin and Islamic burial place), the ancient fortress at the Kasbah des Oudais, and the Old Medina. The day ended with a group dinner at the home of 2013 Emerging Leader Nezha Larhrissi, where Mentors reconnected with Emerging Leaders while enjoying lively local music and traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Delegates traveled to Casablanca on the third day of the trip to attend the Women Entrepreneurs in Technology Conference at Technopark (@Technopark). Before the conference, members of the delegation dined at Rick’s Café – a re-creation of the bar made famous in the classic movie Casablanca. Afterwards, delegates took in the breathtaking and monumental Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country, and an international symbol of Morocco.
The culminating cultural experience of the Morocco delegation trip was a visit to the city of Fez on the final day of the program. Delegates had the chance to interact with local artisans in the centuries-old Labyrinth of Souks, a UNESCO World Heritage (@UNESCO) site. Other cultural treasures the delegates visited included the oldest operating university in the world, University of al-Karaouine, and the opulent façade of the Royal Palace, the former residence of the sultan. With its high walls and elaborately designed bronze doors, the Royal Palace serves as a reminder of the rich history that remains intact in every city of Morocco.
This trip gave TechWomen the chance to learn about opportunities for women in STEM , engage with local leaders, and explore the culture of the Morocco. It was filled with unforgettable exchanges and experiences, and the hospitality of the Moroccan people shined through in all of the sites and cities visited. Many Mentors in the delegation said that this experience opened their eyes to the amazing things that women and girls in the region are accomplishing in the STEM fields, and expressed their eagerness to meet and mentor the 2014 cohort of TechWomen Emerging Leaders this October.
To learn more about the 2014 TechWomen Delegation Trip to Morocco, we encourage you to read the following blog posts about the trip:
- Day 1 in Morocco: TechWomen Reconnect in Rabat
- Day 2 in Morocco: TechWomen Visit Technopolis and the International University of Rabat
- Day 3 in Morocco: Building Global Networks With Women in Technology
- Day 4 in Morocco: Guiding the Next Generation of Female Leaders in STEM
- Day 5 in Morocco: University Students Share Their Entrepreneurship Projects with TechWomen