U.S. Embassy donates NASA Mars Rover Lego model to International University of Rabat, promotes STEM education

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Greene donated a large NASA Mars Rover Lego model to the International University of Rabat’s College of Architecture and Engineering at the start of a daylong conference at the university focused on women and educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).   

The conference comes during Women’s History Month in the United States and included a panel by Moroccan women who work in fields typically dominated by men, such as technology, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and science.  The panelists were alumnae of U.S. government exchange programs – including TechWomen, TechGirls and Space Camp – focused on STEM fields.   

In the past decade, nearly 1,500 Moroccan women and girls, ranging in age from 15 to 35 years old, have participated in U.S. government exchange and in-country programs related to STEM. 

“Working together, Morocco and the United States can succeed in fostering equal access to science, technology and engineering education for young women,” Chargé Greene said.  “This is key to increasing female participation in our countries’ economies.” 

The NASA “Curiosity” Mars Rover model – made from 110,000 Lego pieces – was a centerpiece of last year’s exhibition at the National Library in Rabat about the bicentennial of the American Legation in Tangier, the first U.S. diplomatic mission in Morocco and a symbol of more than 200 years of friendship between our two countries.  

Moroccan-American NASA scientist Kamal Oudrhiri played an important role in the development of the actual Curiosity Mars Rover as well as in NASA’s Mars Exploration Program launched in July 2020.  The rover model represents the deep, historic ties between the United States and Morocco, especially in education and scientific research and development. 

Today’s conference at the International University of Rabat included information sessions about U.S government exchange programs, including Fulbright scholarships, as well as study abroad opportunities through EducationUSA and cultural programs at Dar America, our cultural center in Casablanca.