By Edwina Duenas, Communications Associate
On March 17, the TechWomen delegation visited the Institute Pasteur de Tunis (IPT) and attended an event hosted by Maya Organization in Tunis to engage in discussions on women in science and green technology.
The day began at IPT, which is one of the leaders in scientific research in Tunisia in fields like vaccines, epidemiology, and biotechnology. Here, Mentor Katy Dickinson gave a keynote on technical women in computer science, including leaders like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. Mentor Meg Desko of Bigcommerce also gave a keynote, where she focused on the benefits of social media for scientists. Additionally, Larissa Shapiro of Mozilla spoke on using the Internet to share scientific discoveries. She also cited the importance of sharing failures with an online community as well, which can help peers avoid similar errors in their efforts. With lots of invigorating ideas shared, IPT proved to be the perfect venue for staging these discussions. Thanks to 2014 Emerging Leader Amel Ghouila for helping make this visit happen.
Following lunch at Hotel Africa, delegates switched gears to hear about green tech and sustainability with the Maya Organization. Maya was founded by 2012 Emerging Leader Olfa Khelifi. The organization promotes sustainable water and waste management. The organization develops training programs, collaborates with the local government and other NGOs, and executes other projects to develop improved methods of waste management.
Delegates also got to learn about eco-citizenship through Tunisia Education and Resource Network (TEARN). TEARN works to protect the environment for future generations. The organization provides students project-based education to develop life skills.
Building on this knowledge-sharing, a number of Mentors in the green tech sector shared their stories and experiences working in the US. Beth Steinberg (Yahoo), Lauren Tatsuno (SolarCity), Shannon McElyea (Earth, Air, & Space Educational Foundation), and Maile Smith (Northgate Environmental Management, Inc.) were the speakers for the afternoon, with Meredith Obendorfer moderating. Fields represented included solar energy, civil engineering/structural geology, and environment stewardship. The panelists spoke about the challenges and opportunities within green tech, their personal commitment to bettering the environment, and lastly, gave students and entrepreneurs advice on pursuing their passion. Keywords: Speak up about your ideas, don’t listen to people that say no, and explore your personal interests as much as possible.
In Tunis alone, there is much work being done to promote, advance, and bolster science and green technology for the next generation. We look forward to more exchanges with organizations, entrepreneurs, students, and women leaders in the next few days!
Want to learn more about the TechWomen delegation trip to Tunisia? Read the following blog posts to learn more: