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FIRST Global (www.first.global) is hosting the world’s first international robot Olympics for high-school students, with nearly 160 participating nations – along with six continental teams representing the major land masses – each committed to sending one team to represent their country on the world stage.
The Opening Ceremony for the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge will take place the evening of July 16th at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.
Nations participating in the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge range from the the rural areas of Latin America (Honduras, Venezuela, and Peru) and the industrialized powerhouses of Europe and Asia (Germany, China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea), to a number of famine and violence-plagued nations in Africa (Mali, South Sudan, and Nigeria), and resilient countries of the Middle East (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Jordan).
In fact, some of the other teams attending this global robotics event include those from Iraq, Palestine, and Chinese Taipei, as well as others from Iran, Libya, Yemen, and Sudan, and even a team of Syrian refugees. See full list of participating nations below.
To underscore the importance of forging amicable relations among countries and to show their support for all participating teams, nearly 50 diplomatic missions to the United States have already committed to sending official representatives to the FIRST Global Challenge’s Opening Ceremony. These delegations will join nearly 2,000 other attendees at DAR Constitution Hall in supporting and celebrating the innovation, creativity, and development of our world’s future leaders.
FIRST Global, a U.S. based not-for-profit organization, was founded with the mission to inspire an interest in science and technology innovation and leadership among the 2 billion youth of the world, to ensure that every child has the chance to obtain necessary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills to overcome the greatest challenges we face as a global community.
“By bringing the future STEM leaders of the world together in an engaging and collaborative environment that teaches them to communicate, cooperate, and work together, using the tools of science and engineering, they will gain the trust with one another that enhances a more truly global community despite differences and preconceived notions,” FIRST Global Founder Dean Kamen explained.
In providing the framework for an Olympics-style robotics event that empowers the bright young minds of tomorrow through STEM, countries all over the world, particularly in developing nations, can experience accelerated economic growth, and obtain secure and peaceful livelihoods for their nations. This will require the collective efforts of individuals, corporations, governments, and nonprofits that are willing to invest in STEM education and infrastructure, and provide equal opportunities to all students. To further FIRST Global’s mission to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation internationally, the FIRST Global Challenge will take place in a different nation each year.
Drawn from the United States National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering, water security will take center stage as the theme of this year’s Challenge due to its global impact – whether due to severe droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa or substandard plumbing in the United States – and the need to raise awareness about the dangers of neglecting to address this global issue. By forming two alliances comprised of three nations each, teams will work to separate contaminant particles from a simulated river while competing to secure clean water resources for their respective alliances.
To emphasize the importance of finding solutions to these global challenges, members of the national engineering academies of the United States, China, and the United Kingdom will attend the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge’s Closing Ceremony prior to opening the 3rd Global Grand Challenges Summit on 18-20 July, 2017 at George Washington University in Washington, D,C.
“FIRST Global is committed to working with all nations to underscore the importance of STEM education in order to create more secure and prosperous livelihoods so that all peoples can economically benefit”, Dean Kamen explained. “Kids in many countries, especially in the developing world, more than anybody, need to see the power and accessibility of science, technology, and engineering so that they can create their own careers and their own positive environments to improve their standard of living and quality of life”.