Seeding Egypt’s Rise

John Kuo has written about the links between the 60’s counterculture and the entrepreneurial/tech boom that started in the 80s. Now this morning he writes in the Daily Beast about how Egypt’s homegrown and peaceful revolt may jump start a wave of entrepreneurialism in the Middle East http://tiny.cc/e82zm.
This reminded me of 1997, when I was lucky to spend a month in Cairo evaluating a number of UNDP projects in the region. My favorite was a non-profit called RITSEC (Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Center) that focused on building tech skills and providing email access to young Egyptians, and creating a regional database of documents in Arabic. I remember sitting in the beautiful old crumbling palace where the group was house, amid palm trees and orange blossoms on Zamalek, and listening to the director describe how one day the internet– still in dial-up phase in the US– might provide a way for young people in the Middle East to feel more powerful and connected. When I feel besieged by tech overload, I like to think of this. Kuo’s piece this morning filled me with joy.

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