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52 TechGirls from North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia arrive in the United States

Secondary school girls from North Africa, the Middle East, and ­Central Asia arrived in Washington D.C. this week to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange program.

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Launched in 2012, this four-week program aims to empower girls in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to pursue higher education and careers through hands-on skills development training with American technology leaders. Central Asia was added to the program for the first time this year, expanding on the program’s mission to provide more opportunities for girls to improve their STEM skills and positively impact their communities.

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The TechGirls exchange strengthens American national and economic security by empowering girls with the technical skills and strategic relationships to lead in a global economy.

The program’s centerpiece will be a 12-day Java coding camp with American peers at Virginia Tech’s interactive labs in Blacksburg, Virginia. The TechGirls participants will also visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and experience life with an American family for a weekend in southern Virginia.

Public and private sector organizations will mentor the TechGirls, offering them insights into STEM careers.

Legacy International, the Department of State’s implementing partner for this program, has teamed up with a number of partners, including AT&T, Echo & Co, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Flatiron School, Islamic Relief, NPR, Vox Media, 1901 Group, Nlock.one, Excella, Ozmo, Qualtrax Inc, and Joba Design.

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TechGirls exchange alumnae, now totaling 186, have trained more than 3,500 peers in their home countries and have pursued studies at leading institutions around the world. This network of alumnae supports the U.S. commitment to empower women worldwide through STEM education.

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