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400 top Tech students gather in Poland for Imagine Cup 2010

By Emeka  Aginam, in Warsaw, Poland
No fewer than 400 software incubators from 69 countries and regions around the world who can use technology to  solve the world’s toughest challenges  are  in  head-to-head competition at the ongoing world’s premier student technology competition, the Imagine Cup 2010  initiated by the global software giant, Microsoft.

More than 325,000 high school, college, and university students in 113 countries and regions had  entered the competition

R-L: Abiola Olaniran, Akinbiyi Omole, Adeboye Oshinaga, all from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ileife representing Nigeriand the their Saudi Arabian counterpact during the ongoing 2010 edition of Microsoft Imagine Cup in Warsaw, Poland. Photos by Emeka Aginam.

Running in its eighth series, Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft encourages young talents globally to apply their imagination, passion, and their creative technology innovations that can make a difference in solving the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGS) including poverty, disease, education, among others.

With three  students including Omole Akinbiyi, Olaniran Abiola and Oshinaga Adeboye  from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, (OAU) flying  Nigerian flag high  at the capacity building event with great expectations, there appears to be atmosphere of anxiety, hope and expectations on which   country wins the software competition sponsored by Microsoft.

For one thing, the 400 technology titans showcasing their creativity in software development that  are expected to solve the world’s toughest problems in 2010 Imagine Cup World’s finals were not showing any sign of weariness as they all waved their country’s flags in the shadow of Poland’s Palace of Culture on Saturday, July 3, during the opening ceremony.

Although it took the students one year to get to the final stage as a result of rigorous stages of selection, Imagine Cup has grown from strength to strength, becoming a truly global competition focused in finding solutions to the real world problems with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) as the guiding light.

“Although Africa is lagging behind in IT infrastructure, iam very optimistic that we will win the Cup. We are well prepared. We wil make Nigeria proud. Nigeria has one the best talents in the world.

The youths are the leaders of tomorrow” Omole Akinbiyi who is among the students from OAU representing Nigeria told Vanguard CyberLIFE few hours ahead of their presentation.

According to him, Imagine Cup is a good initiation by Microsoft, adding that the capacity buiding initaition by the software gaint will go a long way in preparing studenst all over trhe world for global competitiveness after graduation from the university.

“Each one of you represents the best of the best in the world. We at Microsoft look at you and see the future  innovators of technology.” Jon Perera, General Manager, Education Group , Microsoft  Corporation told the gathering  during the opening ceremony, adding that each of the students have done so much work, innovation, and creativity to advance to the world’s finals.

“Together, you are the best the world has to offer. Technology represents the world. At Microsoft, we know that the single greatest resource we have on our planet is is people.

And when people come together around a common cause, dream big, and take risks, anything is possible. Your innovation will help people around the world realize their potentials” he said.

Also speaking, the General Manager, Microsoft, Poland Jacek Murawski with optimism said that the students will be leading the way in the future technology innovation.

“You are the most talented and the skilled students. It is event of great energy and passion, which inspire all of  us o search for new solutions.  Imagine Cup finals is  an experience of a lifetime. I hope tis competition week in Poland will be a memorable one for you, bringing positive satisfaction and success, excitement and new friendship” he added.

Meanwhile, experts have reasoned that everything that the world may become “someday” lies in the hands of young people today. As they look at the road ahead, their close relationship with technology enables them to dream in ways we never have before.

Put the two together, and you have young minds holding the tools that can make their vision a reality.

This is the recipe that inspired Microsoft to create the Imagine Cup. What begins with a burst of inspiration and a lot of hard work can become a future software breakthrough, a future career, or a flourishing new industry.

The Imagine Cup encourages young people to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world – today. Now in its eighth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real world issues.

Open to students around the world, the Imagine Cup is a serious challenge that draws serious talent, and the competition is intense. The contest spans a year, beginning with local, regional and online contests whose winners go on to attend the Worldwide Finals held in a different location every year.

The intensity of the work brings students together, and motivates the competitors to give it their all. The bonds formed here often last well beyond the competition itself.


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