Notes from the Closing Ceremony of #WiSciKosovo Camp
The closing ceremony for #WiSciKosovo, a summer camp for girls focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and design and mathematics has taken place in Prishtina. A hundred girls from Kosovo, USA, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia took part in classes led by global science, technology and engineering giants such as Intel, NASA, Microsoft, Bechtel, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), etc.
The national director for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Ms Sarah Olmstead addressed the girls at the closing ceremony: “All of these experience and your evolving interests and especially your struggles will build who you eventually become and I hope everything you have learned here has empowered you to follow that random walk and discover what you can achieve.” Ms Olmstead added: “I hope that you have found some support structure here among the friends you’ve made and the mentors you have had that will help you realize your goals.”
Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) CEO Mr Petrit Selimi spoke of the value of the leadership skills built during the #WiSciKosovo summer camp: “For our foundation (MFK), the #WiSciKosovo camp is crucial as it represents one of the most important features of our program, which is economic development through women’s empowerment. Investing in the education and leadership skills and training of women who were part of #WiSciKosovo, as well as our ‘Women in Energy’ program, are important investments in creating equality for all in Kosovo”.
The US ambassador to Kosovo, Mr Philip Kosnett, also spoke at the event noted that “WiSciKosovo aims to tackle directly the problem of women having unequal access to STEAM [Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art and design jobs.”
A special recorded message by MCC CEO Sean Cairncross was shown: “Your participation in this camp embodies why the MCC works to empower the next generation of women leaders especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.”
Bailey Leuschen, the camp leader and director in the organisation GirlUp, invited six girls to share their experiences of #WiSciKosovo.
Also present were the representatives of partner organisations in the camp from INTEL corporation, United Nations Foundation and the Office for International Cooperation of the State Department of the USA who spoke of the importance of education and the empowerment of young women and of the importance of this camp to Kosovo.
The Albanian Minister for Education, Youth and Sport, Ms Besa Shahini, greeted the girls and the partner organizers of #WiSciKosovo: “On my way here I learned that one of the subjects which you have focused on during camp is how to identify fake news. This subject will be apart of our national curriculum in Albania. In the current climate, I think that such lessons are crucial. I cannot wait to further hear what you learned and how this will help us going forward.”
The camp was officially closed with photos being taken and the girls chanting the anthem of the Camp in front of the attendees.
During the two weeks that WiSciKosovo summer camp ran, the hundred girls from the region and the US took part in lessons in dynamic and innovative fields such as robotics and coding, drone technology, renewable energy sources, identifying fake news, construction technologies and other topics that are aimed at inspiring the girls to be courageous and advance in education and entrepreneurship, developing their confidence and leadership skills. This camp aims to empower girls for leadership in their future fields and encourage them to pursue any of the professional paths offered in STEAM programs.
This is the first summer camp for girls interested in learning about technology and the ninth global #WiSci Camp. In Prishtina, this camp is organized by GirlUp, MFK, Intel, MCC, US Embassies in Prishtina, Skopje, Podgorica, Belgrade, and Tirana, NASA, NREL, Microsoft, Bechtel, AmCham Kosovo, Coca-Cola, Jaha Solar, Kolegji AAB, Organizata TOKA, and Kosova Live.