LONDON, England, August 28, 2019 — Bechtel partnered with governments of Kosovo and the United States, as well as the leadership development initiative Girl Up and other companies to host the first-ever girls’ summer camp in the Balkans focused on science, technology, engineering, art and design and math.
One hundred girls from Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and the U.S. took part in the 10-day Women in Science (WiSci) Girls STEAM Camp, which was supported by the U.S. foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation and Millennium Foundation Kosovo. The youths learned about robotics and coding, drone technology, renewable energy sources and construction technologies as part of a program designed to inspire them to pursue careers in engineering and science.
The girls visited Bechtel’s recently completed Kosovo Route 6 motorway, the country’s largest-ever construction job, which links the capital city of Pristina to North Macedonia. The motorway, which connects with another Bechtel-built road that runs to Albania, promotes trade and economic integration throughout the Balkans, Western Europe and beyond. It also links with major pan-European transport Corridor X that runs between Austria and Greece.
The motorway visit was intended to demonstrate to the girls the positive impact that engineering can have on connectivity, economic growth and sustainability.
“We’re delighted to help more girls discover the extraordinary careers available in STEM, and how engineering can improve people's lives, the environment and economies. Science, tech, engineering and mathematics will continue to be a key vehicle to solve the world’s biggest challenges in the years to come and it’s vital that the teams solving these challenges come from diverse backgrounds,” Ela Ruci, Bechtel’s external affairs manager, said.
Bechtel hosted a screening of the film “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges. The film features strong female role models from diverse backgrounds working on a variety of projects, from building earthquake-proof structures to foot bridges in developing countries. “Dream Big” will be rolled out to secondary schools across Kosovo in the next academic year.
“We can never overstate the importance of female leaders as role models to this generation, and the next,” Girl Up Co-Executive Director Melissa Kilby said. “Girls can do anything; it’s our responsibility to show them that,” Co-Executive Director Anna Blue added.
Other organizations involved in supporting the camp include Intel, Microsoft, Nasa, Coca-Cola, AmCham Kosovo, Jahal Solar, Kolegji AAB, Organizata TOKA, Kosova Live, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the U.S. embassies in Pristina, Belgrade, Tirana, Podgorica and Skopje.