The US Embassy in Egypt and the US Consulate in Jerusalem have each announced an exchange program for teenage girls in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The TechGirls Exchange Program, which will take place in the summer of 2012, will bring 25 girls from the MENA region to the US for three to five weeks. A similar program has also been announced for Jerusalem
While in the US, the 15 to 17-year-old students will have the chance to learn more about the field of technology. The program is open to students who have already demonstrated an advanced understanding of technology-related topics like programming, cloud computing, robotics, applications and more. Applicants should also have the intention to study or pursue a career in a field of technology.
According to the announcement, the exchange program has two aims – to give the students a chance to further their education, giving them a better chance to pursue their career of choice, while also promoting mutual understanding between the US and MENA countries.
The TechGirls exchange program is part of a larger initiative, TechWomen, launched by the US government earlier last year. With an invitation already extended to MENA’s professional women to participate in a program in San Francisco and Washington DC, TechGirls now extends that invitation to the future leaders of the industry in the region.
We’ve recently seen an influx of initiatives for Middle Eastern startups, such as the NextGen IT Bootcamp, with the likes of Supermama, which we covered here and Bey2ollak, which we covered here, going to the US and Denmark to benefit from a mentorship program with international entrepreneurs.
Programs like TechGirls will give young students from the Middle East the tools and know-how they will need to launch their own startups, or find their footing in the field of technology, further on down the line.