Under the theme "Empowering Women in Technology: Fostering Innovation for Sustainable Impact and Entrepreneurship," Al Akhawayn University , School of Science and Engineering hosted the "IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit" (AUI) on November 16 and 17, in collaboration with IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE). This summit brought together women from around the world actively involved in the fields of engineering, technology, and science.
The IEEE Women in Engineering ILS 2023 positioned itself as a transformative event, providing a global platform for women in STEM to connect, share knowledge, and inspire each other.In his opening remarks at the Summit, Dr. Amine BENSAID, President of Al Akhawayn, emphasized that it was well established that "Morocco would not be able to achieve its New Development Model without the contribution of its women". According to Dr. Bensaid, the international IEEE Summit "symbolizes the progress we have made and the paths we continue to forge together towards a more inclusive and equitable future". "Despite the rapid evolution of the business world, it is extremely reassuring to see that when we reinvent the relationship between the business world and the academic world, when we adapt students' skills, we can achieve truly impressive results in a win-win model between our youth, our companies, and our universities," he added.
On her part, H.E Mrs Awatif HAYAR, Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration, and Family, highlighted the Jisr project implemented by her department to strengthen women's empowerment and leadership. "This program reflects the government's commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by placing technology at the heart of social regeneration," she stated. "The Jisr program aims to promote women's entrepreneurship and facilitate women's access to the job market through regional support and training. The goal is to enhance their skills in the entrepreneurial field and reduce regional disparities."
AI4SDG13: Student Hackathon on the Use of AI to Solve Climate Change Problems
The "AI4SDG13: Student Hackathon on the Use of AI to Solve Climate Change Problems" was part of the activities of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit. This webinar was led by three eminent experts: Dr. Sadhana Attavar, senior member of IEEE and climate change expert, Dr. Jeannice Samani from the United States, AI specialist for Smart Cities, and Dr. Abdelghani Asli, professor at Al Akhawayn University and renewable energy specialist.
The event welcomed 12 teams, totaling 45 students, including 24 female students, demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and gender equality. The majority of participants came from Al Akhawayn University's School of Science and Engineering, with representatives from Euromed, EMI, as well as UM6P and FSAC.
The hackathon aimed to develop AI-based solutions to address urgent climate challenges in the region, such as lake drying and challenges related to urban irrigation practices, with a focus on the impact on women, particularly in rural areas. The participants developed innovative Proof of Concepts (PoCs) for a sustainable approach to these problems. These solutions aim to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 13 by focusing on modeling and predicting extreme weather events, optimizing water management, identifying vulnerable areas to forest fires, and developing adaptive agricultural practices.
The jury, consisting of experts in Machine Learning, climate change, and Smart Cities, and the representative of the Fes-Meknes Regional Investment Center, awarded the first prize to the Hydrobytes team, the second prize to the "zWaste" team, and third prize to each of the two teams: SRM (Smart Region Management) and "AIGreen". These prizes were sponsored by EngageAI.org, an American NGO promoting the use of AI for SDGs. The institutional partner, the Regional Investment Center, collaborated in mentoring the students during the competition and will provide post-Hackathon support to teams wishing to launch startups based on their PoCs.
AUI and IEEE: A Synergistic Collaboration for Excellence
The collaboration between AUI and IEEE WIE for the success of this summit demonstrates their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. It exemplifies their shared determination to foster innovation and empower women to become leaders in their respective industries.
Located in Ifrane, Morocco, Al Akhawayn University stands as a dynamic hub of technological innovation and academic excellence, aligning perfectly with the values and objectives of IEEE, the world's largest technical and professional organization.
IEEE, or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Encompassing various fields of electrical engineering, computing, and related disciplines, IEEE offers a global platform for professionals, researchers, and students to collaborate, innovate, and contribute to global technological progress.
AUI's commitment to excellence extends to its faculty members, who actively contribute to the IEEE community, embodying the values of professionalism, integrity, and innovation within the university. Dr. Nasser Assem Assem, senior member of IEEE, has played a crucial role in IEEE's humanitarian activities, the WIE International Leadership Summit, and various conferences.
The impact of AUI's IEEE initiatives goes beyond the campus, influencing the broader landscape of technological advancement in the Middle East and Africa. As AUI continues to cultivate a culture of technological innovation and collaboration, it remains a beacon of excellence, enabling students to make a positive contribution to the world.
This collaboration between AUI and IEEE paves the way for a future where women in technology lead, innovate, and contribute to sustainable progress.