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American University of Sharjah (AUS) Team Represents Gulf at Imagine Cup 2008

Worldwide Finals Kicks Off in Paris

The competition begins today for Ammar Sawas and Ahmed Wasfy, the winning team from the American University of Sharjah who are representing the Gulf at the worldwide finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008. The competition gives students the chance to unlock their creative genius and create technology solutions that can help address some of the world’s toughest social challenges.

This year students take on the important challenge of creating solutions that address environmental issues around the world. The theme of the 2008 Imagine Cup is "Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment." The AUS team has applied that theme to the development of ’PolluMap’, an automatic pollution detection device.

"These students inspire everyone who meets them",said Joe Wilson, senior director of academic initiatives at Microsoft Corp., whose team manages the Imagine Cup. "They show a fantastic combination of passion and creativity using technology to solve hard problems facing the world, such as environmental sustainability. The Imagine Cup helps to spark students’ imagination and gives them a way to chase their dreams and make a difference in the real world."

Engineer Manar Fahed Al Hashash from Kuwait has been invited to be part of the panel of judges at the finals. Ms. Al Hashash is the Kuwait e-Award Secretary General and a high level IT advisor for the United Nations. Commenting on the event, Ms. Al Hashash, said, "The Imagine Cup creates a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm - not to mention remarkable ideas from students who are working towards a career in computer science, information technology and the digital arts. We are pleased to be associated with this year’s Imagine Cup to help foster innovation."

A total of 370 students from 124 teams representing 61 countries and regions will participate this week in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals across nine categories, competing for $240,000 in prizes. The categories include: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, "Project Hoshimi" (Programming Battle), IT Challenge, Algorithm, Photography, Short Film and Interface Design.

The Omani representative and judge, Mr. Talal Al Rahbi, Chief of Information & Awareness Division from the Information Technology Authority of Oman said, "The competition gives students a focus, separate from their academic work, to test and develop a wide range of skills, from programming aptitude, to entrepreneurship and teamwork. ITA Oman is pleased to be associated with Microsoft to help students harness the power of technology to develop innovative projects that contribute directly to the future health of the environment."

The student teams are in the final stage of a yearlong competition and will undertake a series of challenges relating to technology and digital media depending on the category. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, July 8, as part of the Imagine Cup World Festival closing ceremonies.

Other events happening during the week include the second annual Education Leaders Forum, a two-day discussion and networking forum for government and education elites focused on the challenges facing tertiary education today around the world. More than 130 education leaders from 45 countries and regions are expected to attend the event, and also will have an opportunity to meet the Imagine Cup students and see their solutions firsthand.

The Imagine Cup, now in its sixth year, challenges students to imagine a better world enabled by their own talent and also to contribute directly to the future of technology, software and computing. Teams develop innovative technological and digital media projects that offer real-world solutions to real-world problems.


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