JERUSALEM, May 5, 2012 (WAFA) - The US State Department and Consulate General in Jerusalem launched on Wednesday TechCamp Ramallah, a project that will empower Palestinian women with new technologies, according to a consulate statement.
It said the purpose of TechCamp “is to galvanize the international technology community to assist civil society leaders across the globe by providing capabilities, resources and assistance that enables them to harness the latest in information technology advances.”
Eighty women from a range of Palestinian civil society organizations and industries participated in TechCamp Ramallah hosted by Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with a group of international technology experts representing several global information technology heavyweights, as well as leading Palestinian technologists and the Palestinian IT Association (PITA).
“TechCamp Ramallah aimed to empower women by equipping them with news skills utilizing cutting-edge technologies that address the ambitions, challenges, and opportunities of their organizations, while connecting them with global networks of technologists, sponsors, and digital volunteers interested in helping implement innovative solutions,” said the statement.
Speaking at the opening of TechCamp Ramallah, Ross said, “TechCamp Ramallah brings together three of Hillary Clinton’s priorities: strengthening civil society, innovation, and empowering women and girls.”
Yael Lempert, Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, told conference participants, “TechCamp is much more than a conference. It is an opportunity to explore how technology can help advance important causes in all sectors of society…We look at TechCamp Ramallah as an opportunity to support your work in delivering important services to your communities, while also helping build the institutional capacity of a future Palestinian state.”
TechCamp included seminars on: Organizing Online Communities for Offline Action; Marketing Your Ideas through Social Media Channels; Entrepreneurship with Social Impact; the Power of SMS in a Resource-Constrained Society; Branding your Business; and Work-Life Balance.
Ayman Arandi, a TechCamp trainer and founder of Iris Interactive Solutions, commented that “TechCamp is an excellent opportunity for participants to gain world-class training on the latest technological methods that will be invaluable to their work. This workshop offers benefits to the trainers and participants alike, providing everyone with the unique chance to expand their network to include international experts as well as a wide range of great Palestinian organizations and projects.”
Elizabeth Linder, Government and Politics Specialist at Facebook said, “TechCamp Ramallah has been one of the most enthusiastic, inspiring, and meaningful experiences I've had since joining Facebook four years ago. The ideas we've generated together in just two days shows that we are moving fast and creating things.”
One Palestinian participant commented, “This has been a truly powerful experience. I've learned a lot from the international technologists who have shown me that although the problems around the world may be very different, we can find solutions using the exact same tools.”
TechCamp is a global project that has taken place in diverse locations such as Thailand, Uruguay and Romania. It is among the many programs sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General throughout the year in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which promote dialogue and mutual understanding between Palestinians and Americans, said the statement.