Imagine Cup 2009 has come to a spectacular close as 444 students from 70 countries gathered in Cairo, Egypt for the world finals last July 3-8. The competitions were intense. The scenery was breathtaking. The food was overflowing and flavorful with spices. More importantly, students from various cultures and backgrounds blended as one through technology and friendship.
This year, the Philippines has sent it’s biggest delegation ever with two teams competing in different categories. For Software Design is a team from Ateneo de Manila University comprised of Philip Cheang, Rodrick Tan, Wilhansen Li, Thomas Dy, and their coach Dr. Ma. Mercedes Rodrigo. For Mash Up is a team from De La Salle University comprised of Janine Trogo, Janelle Campita , and their coach Dr. Jose Lloyd Espiritu.
After a 15 hour flight, the team checked in at the Intecontinental City Stars Hotel. We were greeted by the sphinx replica at the grand lobby entrance. It is now sinking in that we were in Egypt! Also, it was surprising to see a huge pyramid at the equally surprising hotel swimming pool. We barely had enough time to unpack and explore the hotel and it was already time to go to the welcome party at the Citadel. The highlights of the evening were the parade of nations, inspirational talk of Microsoft chief architect Ray Ozzie, welcome remarks by the legendary Joe Wilson, and ended with cultural performances and great food.
Day 2 is the start of the competitions. The atmosphere is intense and everybody is preparing for their presentations. Not even the game room or food buffet could distract them. From 60+ SD teams, there will be 12 left in the 2nd round, then further shortlisted to 6 team finalists (and all this happens today). The Ateneo team spent the entire morning rehearsing their presentation. With a panel of 4 judges, the team delivered a flawless presentation. The judges were impressed by the technical merits of their project and how well they presented and answered questions. After their presentation, some of the judges approached the team and offered to hire them after graduation. There was a long and nervous wait for all the teams to finish their presentations and the judges to deliberate on the teams moving forward. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the next round. Still with the competitive spirit up, we waited for the finalists to do their presentations and learn how we can do better to take the stage next time.
Day 3. It’s DLSU’s turn to meet their judges. Actually, Mash Up entries were already pre-judged. They are meeting the judges for a competition debriefing and some Q&A to add points to the weak areas of their entry. The results would be announced on the last day during the awarding ceremony. With all the competitions done, we planned to tour the city for the rest of the day. We went for a Nile river cruise until sun set (sundown is at 7:30). Afterwards, we watched the Light and Sound show at the pyramids (laser show projected on the 3 pyramids and sphinx).
Day 4 is when all competitions end and the students get to tour Cairo for the Cultural Day. Finally, we get to see the Giza pyramids up close. We all got the chance to climb the tallest pyramid. And also visit where they prepare the mummies near the sphinx. Then off to dinner in the Al Azhar Park where we were entertained by a very colorful (and dizzying) show. Did I mention food and more food?
On the last day of the Imagine Cup, we head back to the Giza pyramids. In the middle of the dessert, between the setting sun and the grand pyramids, lay the stage for the Imagine Cup awarding ceremony. There couldn’t have been a more perfect location, it was surreal. Then came the moment we were all waiting for. The Software design top three are: Romania (1st), Russia (2nd), Brazil (3rd). For the Mash Up competition, the top teams are: United States (1st), Poland (2nd tie), Singapore (2nd tie). For a complete list of winners, click here.
Imagine Cup 2010 Poland
Every year, we get better and better, closer to taking home the Imagine Cup. Next year, in Poland, it is our time. We have the same challenge to all students around the world, to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the worlds toughest problems". But there are new ways to compete, stay tuned. We are now officially looking for the next teams to represent the Philippines in Imagine Cup 2010 Poland. Step up to the challenge!
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