On 9 March in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute and 150 of its closest friends and supporters celebrated International Women’s Day with the grand opening of DLI‘s Digital Innovation Centre for Girls & Women, a first of its kind in Europe! This very special occasion was marked with fun, hands-on digital activities for all ages, a high-level roundtable with Brussels, Belgian and European stakeholders, and a reception for all in attendance.
To kick off the evening, DLI volunteers and partners took over the entire, new 100m2 space to give young and young-at-heart members of the DLI family a try at hands-on digital activities with the following themes:
- 3D Design & Printing
- Digital Music & DJing
- Bits, Bytes & Machine Code
- Silly Robot Missions
- Play Your Musical Fruit
In particular, the Bits, Bytes & Machine Code activity – a card game for all ages designed by Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Digital Literacy Lead and g-Hive Community Manager – was a popular (and loud) crowd favorite. It required players to calculate in bits and bytes, and showcased the digital natives in the group, who nimbly trounced their analog ancestors to much vocal lamenting.
The Digital Activity Stations then gave way to an official DLI Opening Ceremony graced with a beautiful video message from Ms. Bianca Debaets, State Secretary of the Brussels Capital Region for Equal Opportunity and ICT, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke, 2014 European Digital Girl of the Year, and Ms. Esther Roure Vila, 2014 European Digital Woman of the Year.
The evening’s activities were rounded out with a high-level discussion on the topic of “Women Driving Digital Innovation,” with unique and insightful interventions by the VIPs in attendance, all amazing role models for girls and women in technology:
- Ms. Jasmin Battista, Member of Cabinet for European Commission VP Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market
- Ms. Pascale Van Damme, Managing Director Belux, Dell Belgium & Luxembourg and 2014 “ICT Woman of the Year” (DataNews)
- Ms. Esther Roure Vila, Technical Service Cisco Belux, and 2014 European Digital Woman of the Year
- Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke, Belgium Age 11, 2014 European Digital Girl of the Year
- Ms. Laure Le Bars, SAP Strategic Research & Innovation, Research Projects Director
- Ms. Ilse Bracke, Business Unit Manager, CIPAL
As a magical closing to an exciting evening, Ms. Pascale Van Damme, Managing Director of Dell Belgium & Luxembourg and 2014 “ICT Woman of the Year”, surprised the convened guests with dedication of forty Dell laptops to DLI saying “this is a contribution to help ensure the DLI Centre gets off on the right foot and is able to achieve its mission which we support very much.”
Thank you, Dell! And thank you to all of our DLI community and supporters for such a wonderful and memorable DLI opening event!