Over the past year, I’ve met incredible people from around the world doing great things in their local communities. At my university, the Women in Computing @ RIT program provides networking for students with faculty, staff, and alumni. They also help advance women in computing through community outreach. I’ve also come into contact with two other international tech communities with interesting stories of their own. With the help of the WiC events committee, we are working on organizing a virtual meetup with WiC from New York, Open Labs Albania, and FOSS Wave from India to introduce each other, share experiences, and more.

About Open Labs

Group photo of attendees at OSCAL 2016 in Tirana, Albania (courtesy of Open Labs)

Group photo of attendees at OSCAL 2016

Open Labs Albania is a non-profit organization and community based out of Tirana, Albania. Open Labs focuses on freedom, transparency, and decentralization to empower the community. They support and contribute to a variety of open source projects to tackle local problems. Sometimes, this even includes regional and international issues. Each year, the Open Labs team organizes their annual conference, OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania). Hundreds of people from across Europe gather to “promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge”. In 2016, over 50% of attendees and 70% of organizers were women, numbers unheard of anywhere else in the world.

The story of Open Labs in Albania is a growing but powerful story of people from a developing country working together to build real solutions to real problems. The story of their movement is motivating, insightful, and worth sharing.

About FOSS Wave

FOSS Wave is a group of open source developers and students dedicated to connecting other students into open source communities. They help develop students’ professional skills for the industry. The mentors have a “Boot Up” program where interested students reach out for a mentor. Mentors offer direct support to students on getting started. Program organizers also attend various universities to deliver workshops and talks about open source technology. Many mentors are female and speak about diversity in open source communities and give advice for women who want to get involved.

FOSS Wave: Women in Technology (Part 2)

FOSS Wave: FOSS and Fedora in Bangalore, India

FOSS Wave: Bangalore at UVCE

Virtual meetup

Over the next month, we hope to combat time zones (six hours in Europe and nine and a half with India) to find mutual times that work well for both communities. These are two separate virtual meetup opportunities, one with WiC and Open Labs, and another with WiC and FOSS Wave. We are trying to collect responses from members of both communities of when they would be available to take part in the meetup.

Are you a member of WiC, Open Labs, or FOSS Wave? Please make sure you fill in your available times in either poll so we can select a date soon!

I’m looking forward to these awesome communities meeting, sharing experiences, and learning about what other groups of students, women, and other great role models in tech are working on across the world. Hope to see you there too!