The TEDWomen audience in DC received a surprise guest this afternoon in the form of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She championed support for innovation in the form of TechWomen, which provides professional mentorship by pairing technologists around the world with American women. Skills development and networking are the dual focuses of the program to achieve more education around science and (our favorite) entrepreneurship.
She talked about the importance of innovation prizes like the ones offered through Apps4Africa, a competition for mobile apps among developers across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Winners of the State Department-supported contest include a tool for real-time information on government corruption and iCow, a voice-based mobile application that helps farmers track the estrus stages of their cows to better monetize farms.

Sec. Clinton explained her interest in both programs and the rights of women and girls as being a cornerstone of US foreign policy. She explained, “It’s not just a moral or humanitarian issue–it’s a security, prosperity and piece issue [that] drives economic growth across all sectors.”