A team of Afghan girls whose plight resounded with the world won a silver medal for “courageous achievement” at an international robotics contest organized by FIRST Global, with judges praising the group’s “can-do attitude”. Earlier they were denied visa to enter the USA, but intervention by President Trump helped them get visas. Their story is a fairy tale, overcoming hurdles and winning the competition.
FIRST Global caps off the three-day robotics competition that saw one high-school team from each of the nearly 160 participating nations compete to address one of the world’s most pressing issues – water security. Accomplished inventor, Dean Kamen founded FIRST Global with the mission to inspire an interest in science and technology development among the 2 billion youth of the world and ensuring that every child has the chance to obtain necessary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills to overcome the greatest challenges our world faces.
The winners (listed below) were selected by an international panel of judges comprised of members of the STEM community who have been part of the FIRST Global Challenge experience from the beginning.
FIRST Global Challenge Award: Gold: Finland; Silver: Singapore & Bronze: India
FIRST Global Grand Challenge Award: Gold: Team Europe; Silver: Poland & Bronze: Armenia
Zhang Heng Award for Engineering Design: Gold: India; Silver: Mali & Bronze: Mexico
Ustad Ahmad Lahori Award for Innovation in Engineering: Gold: Latvia; Silver: Indonesia & Bronze: Spain
Dr. Mae Jemison Award for International Unity: Gold: Canada; Silver: Australia & Bronze: United Arab Emirates
Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli Award for Courageous Achievement: Gold: South Sudan; Silver:Afghanistan & Bronze: Oman
Sofia Kovalevskaya Award for International Journey: Gold: Nigeria: Silver: France & Bronze: Madagascar
Albert Einstein Award for FIRST Global International Excellence: Gold: Oceania; Silver: Tunisia & Bronze: Lebanon
Francisco José de Caldas Award for Sustainable Excellence: Gold: Sue O’Malley (Team Oceania); Silver: Barbara Glover (African Union) & Bronze: David Levy (AAAS)
Al Khwarizmi Award for Outstanding Supporter: Gold: the First Skills Club, nominated by Team Tunisia; Silver
Faysal Jarmakani and Omar Jarmakani, nominated by Team Nigeria & Bronze: the National Institute for Science, Technology, and Innovation, nominated by Team Seychelles
Teams from GCC, MENA region U.A.E, Oman, Tunisia & Lebanon, Africa Mali, South Sudan, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Asia – India, Afghanistan
As FIRST Global’s guest of honor, President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim recognized the hard work the competitors put into the competition and encouraged them to pursue careers in STEM so as to secure prosperous livelihoods for all people around the world.
To emphasize how imperative finding solutions to these issues is, 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 holding the 3rd Global Grand Challenges Summit on 18-20 July, 2017 at George Washington University in Washington, D,C.
In keeping with 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. FIRST Global Founding Member, renowned entrepreneur Ricardo Salinas, announced Mexico as next year’s host country for the second iteration of the FIRST Global Challenge. The organization wants to empower all young through science and technology and is working earnestly to recruit teams from countries that could not accompany us this year.