News Release

Cisco Uses the Power of TelePresence to Shape the Next Generation of African Women's Leadership

Inaugural Cisco Africa Women Leadership Network Program and MENA ITU ICT Day Help to Boost Future Outlook for Talented Young Women throughout Africa
Jul 09, 2012

July 92012: Cisco is utilizing the power of Cisco TelePresence® technology to deliver impactful networking events designed to help talented young women in Africa boost their future outlook.  This marks a significant milestone for technology in Africa and is a testimony to the whirlwind of information and communications technology (ICT) developments in the region as well as Cisco's unique capabilities for bandwidth optimization.

An inaugural event of Cisco's Africa Women Leadership Network Program kicked off proceedings in April 2012, targeting young talented women at college and universities throughout Africa.  The session, moderated by Her Excellency Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse of Botswana to the United States, connected 77 women in Cisco offices in Lagos, Johannesburg, Tunis, Nairobi, Cairo, Casablanca, and Algiers live to Washington DC. Furthermore, to mark this year's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Girl's in ICT Day, also in April 2012, Cisco facilitated students from Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE, virtually, via TelePresence to meet female leaders from Cisco who shared their backgrounds and experiences and discussed how they had developed their own careers for their respective job roles.

Highlights / Key Facts:

  • Cisco's Africa Women Leadership Network Program targets young talented women at college and universities, its primary goal being to boost future prospects of talented young women by exposing them to innovative technologies and to inspiring women role models who have positively impacted society. In the program's first session, Her Excellency Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse shared her background, as well as the decisions she made throughout the different stages of her childhood, adulthood and her professional life. Ambassador Seretse also spoke about how technology has played a role in her day-to-day life. Cisco plans to run a series of further sessions throughout the 2012 and 2013 calendar.
  • In 2010, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) members agreed to recognize Girls in ICT Days on the 4th Thursday of every April. To mark Girls in ICT Day 2012 Cisco MENA region offices (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon and UAE) hosted 42 female students from secondary schools and universities who were invited to spend the day at Cisco offices to gain an understanding of the opportunities the ICT sector holds for their future and a deeper insight into professional fields and courses of study that may be overlooked when choosing a career. The MENA offices participated with one agenda over TelePresence where female/male leaders at Cisco shared their backgrounds and experiences, discussing how they developed their careers to reach leadership positions. The girls had the opportunity to test their skills, ask questions, make important contacts and get to know Cisco employees in person. Not only that, they also met other students from different backgrounds and nationalities from different countries in the region.
  • Cisco TelePresence offers a video experience so intuitive and life-like and natural that it feels as if people were in the same room even when they were many kilometers apart. What started out as a way to save travel costs and optimize employee time at large companies has evolved into a way of accelerating time to market, expanding access to experts, and transforming how companies do business and how education programs can be delivered.

Executive Quotes:

Her Excellency Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse of Botswana to the United States

"Mentoring and training programs aimed at young talented females in Africa are going to be vital to help our young workforce of the future to be able to adapt and secure career opportunities in the global 21st-century workforce. Africa's growing youth population needs to be equipped with the right skills to help them thrive in this ever-changing world. I was delighted to participate in the inaugural session for Cisco's Africa Women Leadership Network Program, as I see it as a very worthwhile initiative that will inspire and grow young women who are our future leaders in the continent. As the African proverb goes, ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.' I am pleased that Cisco is making their innovative technology available to enable so many young African women in different locations to collaborate so easily without the need to travel."

Nevine ElKadi, senior manager, Turkey, Middle East and North Africa, Corporate Affairs, Cisco

"Our goal is to provide talented young women with a sense for how collaboration technology solutions, like Cisco TelePresence, can help to widen their opportunities as well as open a window to the world and give them the opportunity to be inspired by role models who are already enjoying career success.   This way they will feel more comfortable with technology as a means to advance their career prospects at the same time. The Cisco's Africa Women Leadership Network Program and our activities around the annual Girls in ICT Days aim to provide a platform for young female students to learn, create bonds with their peers from around Africa, as well as network and share best practices."

Laura Quintana, senior director, EMEAR and Latin America, Corporate Affairs, Cisco    

"It has only been a couple of years since we deployed the Cisco TelePresence solution in our offices throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and yet what we are achieving with this technology is already helping to make a difference to the lives of so many in Africa.  We are not only helping to extend the reach of  technology to even the most underprivileged communities, we are also using the benefits of this collaborative solution to  facilitate  learning experiences that will help contribute to shaping the next generation of  leadership in Africa."

Additional Resources:


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