ECA’s TechWomen2012 brings 42 women from Middle East and North Africa to U.S. for mentoring and training

The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on Wednesday launched its TechWomen2012 initiative, which will bring 42 women from eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S. for a period of five weeks. While in the U.S., the women—who all work in the technology sectors in their home countries that include Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen—will be engaged in a mentoring program with their U.S. counterparts. The American mentors will then travel to the Middle East and North Africa later this year in order to conduct workshops for women working in the technology sector and for girls with an interest in technology-based careers.

Professional mentors participating in this year’s TechWomen initiative include representatives from 30 technology companies based in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, such as, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

The TechWomen initiative, which was launched for the first time by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year, is part of the Secretary’s “smart power” diplomacy and aims to build relationships among people worldwide, particularly through empowering women and girls through technology.