Arab Techies Women gathering: An event in review – Part 2

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Image courtesy of Imen Ben Achour

This blog post is the 2nd part of my review of the exceptional event Arab Techie Women Gathering held in Lebanon from 11 to 14th May.


Discussion panel by Hala Deeb : Free and Open Source Software

The second discussion panel that took place was presented by the prominent young entrepreneur and Linux Geek Hala Deeb. The panel dubbed “Free and Open source software” brought up some interesting points relative to the state of FOSS in the Arab world. Sure enough, the battle for open source is still a long way to go and the FOSS case needs to be backed up by competent organizations and communities. The participants shared what seem to be embryonic initiatives from their countries to help spread the open source culture and encourage FOSS usage by Arab particulars and companies.


Workshop: Mapping of information

I had the opportunity to be part of an interesting workshop relative to the Mapping of information. The workshop was conducted by Laila Shereen Sakr (the R-shief.org lady) and resolved into creating a visualization of tweets that have been shared using the hashtag #ATWomen (the official hashtag for the event). The project is still a work in progress as the team has been through conceptualization, Data extraction and will map the tweet on a Diaporama of the physical space where we’ve been gathering. The results will be available in few days; I’m surely very excited to see how they’ll turn out.

The workshop was very enriching since I learned about “the language of new media” a book by Lev Manovich that mainly tries to “analyze the language of new media by placing it within the history of modern visual and media cultures” (as stated in the book’s introduction). I also discovered <a href=" http://processing.org/“>processing, an open source programming language and environment for setting up images, animations or interactions. While browsing the website I was very impressed by projects that have been made based on processing, such as the “Just Landed” project by Jer Thorp. More projects can be explored on the exhibition part of the processing website.

This is how far my note taking goes for the first day of the gathering, more to come on the 3rd post of the series. Until then, I wish you a great weekend!


Lamia Ben

Arab techies Women gathering: an event in review – Part 1

 

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The event

 

It has been a really amazing week in the presence of inspiring women from all over the Arab world at the ATWomen gathering, held in Lebanon from 11 to 14th May. The event was organized by Arab techies and Smex in the lovely Youth center of the city of Jouneh – Lebanon.

 

ATWomen was organized basically to bring Arab women techies under the spotlight and give them a voice in a male dominated field. The gathering was an opportunity for women leaders from around the Arab World to meet and exchange ideas and expertise. The blending of the different cultures was quite interesting to observe but it only proved how diversity is the greatest catalyst of innovation.

 

The event was very "cozy" which made it even more enjoyable. Every day was a mixture of workshops, discussion panels and projects' presentations. And what was truly amazing was “the water cooler effect” that reined the coffee breaks. Ideas were floating everywhere and many collaboration possibilities were looming in the air. 

 

Day 1

 

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Photo courtesy: smex.org

 

I have truly enjoyed every presentation and every workshop I was able to attend. On this first blog post of the series, I’ll try to present some of the ideas I took note of on the morning of the first day.

 

Discussion panel by Nadine Moawad about: Gender and ICT

 

I have once asked the question why is the blogosphere male dominated? And this panel was truly refreshing. Geeky female presence in the virtual realm leaves a lot to be desired and the problem is, as stated in a WSJ article, “… twofold. First, you have women's own self-limiting views of themselves… but equally problematic are the stereotypes, perceptions and expectations…” that believe women far from being good at anything Geeky.

Nadine presented a very interesting initiative called: take back the tech – Arabia, which aims inter alia to encourage, train, and support young women to use ICTs creatively, purposefully, and efficiently and incites them to geek up and venture into tech-related careers.

 


Projects’ presentations:

 

       Wiki Syria: presented by nada Albunni. Collaborating on wikis for a better translation and far more accurate information.

       R-shief.org: presented by Laila Shereen Sakr. A working environment that integrates existing open source software in order to archive 21st century knowledge production on the Middle East/ North Africa and its Diaspora.

       Mizaj: presented by Mira Loutfi a web platform for promoting young unsigned musicians

       Arab Digital expression summer camps: presented by Ranwa Yehia which is a summer camp program for Arab youth aged 12 to 15 encouraging the use of ICTs for digital expression and artistic creation.

 

Ok, I think I have been long enough; these were basically the ideas/projects that have been officially presented on the first morning. If you are interested to know more about the projects, or have an idea that could help these initiatives, please leave a comment or contact me on @lammiia.

 

Lamia Ben