"This article is a fascinating look at what is happening in the Middle East for women in tech. " Susan
If you left your country of birth in the midst of a war and found yourself in a promising career at Google, you’d be forgiven for staying put. But Lara Noujaim had other ideas. The business graduate travelled from Lebanon to California in 2006 and, after completing an MBA at Santa Clara University, she found work in America’s thriving tech sector, joining Google as a Data Evaluator in 2010. Three years later, however, she gave it up to pursue a very different ambition: she wanted to help create a games industry back home.
“I could have stayed and built a career in the States, but I’m a very patriotic person, we all are in Lebanon,” she says. “The games industry didn’t exist, I came home to be part of creating it. I wanted to give something back.”
In the west, Middle East reporting is often focused on disaster. With much of the region in varying degrees of conflict and chaos, it’s easy to overlook any other more positive developments. While Lebanon itself isn’t at at war, it has seen ahuge influx of refugees from neighbouring Syria, with as much as a third of the population now made up by displaced people. “Games are an escape, a way to have fun,” says Noujaim. “But for us in Lebanon, games are also used as a distraction from frustration at events in the country.”