Many Lebanese in the diaspora are working their best to influence the world of tech and innovativeness, including Ayah Bdeir, a Lebanese-Canadian inventor, entrepreneur, and social activist.
For more than a decade, Ayah Bdeir has been focusing on empowering people, especially women, to become future changemakers in their communities.
Born in Montreal and raised in Beirut, Bdeir earned degrees in Computer and Communications Engineering and Sociology from AUB and pursued her Masters of Science in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. She also taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons.
A graduate of the prestigious MIT Media Lab, Bdeir invented littleBits, an electronic building block that has influenced STEM education for millions of kids worldwide.
Her invention helped her raise over $70 million from investors coming from Silicon Valley and New York. In 2019, LittleBits was acquired by Sphero, to form a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) education.
LittleBits has won over 150 awards, including Toy of the Year, and has now more than 20 million “Bits” in the hands of kids, teachers, parents, and artists living in over 70 countries.
In recognition of her innovative work, she received several awards, including the BBC 100 Most Influential Women, New York Times Groundbreaker, CNBC Next List, and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35, among others.
The Lebanese-Canadian also received fellowships from Creative Commons and TED. Her TED talk, “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep, and Teach,” brought more than a million views.
She appeared on the covers of well-known magazines, namely The New York Times Magazine, WIRED UK, Forbes Middle East, MAKE Magazine, and others.
In addition to her acclaimed success, her inventions are also showcased at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and appeared in The New Museum, The Royal College of Art, as well as Ars Electronica.
Ayah Bdeir is now a board member of the Fund for Public Schools, a non-profit partner in the Department of Education, which aims to raise funds and create pilot programs for New York City Public Schools.
Aya Bdeir is also behind the Instagram page Daleel Thawra, which she co-founded upon returning to Beirut during the Thawra.
It stands as a directory of the Lebanese revolution and Beirut Blast relief, and a guide for activists to further democratic and political awareness via technology.