Remarks by Ambassador Patricia Haslach at Reception to Launch Girls Can Code (GCC) Project

Remarks by

Patricia Haslach

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia

 at Reception to Launch Girls Can Code (GCC) Project

Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

(As prepared for delivery) 

Selam new! Good Evening!

Good evening to all of the bright and talented young women here tonight.  I would like to warmly welcome you to the Embassy along with your proud families, teachers and school directors.  I am happy to be with you this evening to officially launch the Girls Can Code project in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child which took place earlier this month on October 11.

The GCC, as we like to call the program, is a yearlong project aimed to teach the 40 bright and outgoing high school girl students who have been selected the essential computer, IT and life skills that will help you succeed at university.  Apart from teaching essential computer skills, GCC will train you all in important skills such as networking, computer coding, and other aspects to support your development in the important “STEM” areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

You might ask why we think this type of program is so important.  Well, I can give you many different reasons. Firstly, the theme selected for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child was: The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.  Adolescent girls everywhere in the world have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported and encouraged during their adolescent years with programs such as the GCC, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, mentors, mothers, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.

In the United States, we completely agree. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stated that

“No society can achieve its full potential when half the population is denied the opportunity to achieve theirs.”

We know that opening the door for women and girls to educational opportunities leads to more choices and opportunities.  As U.S. Ambassador, I continue to be personally committed to work on issues related to girls’ education and women’s empowerment while I am here in Ethiopia.  I encourage all of you gathered here today to make the most of the opportunities afforded to you through the GCC and to continue to grow into strong women who are leaders in your communities, your country and the world.

Thank you!  Amaseganelu!