In April, 2019, I was so lucky to participate as a mentor in NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World. Teams spent three days working on an applications that solve problems in the Arab world. The problems were related to several fields such as health, education, refugees, food-waste and others.
Participants used trending technologies like AI, machine learning, augmented reality to solve problems. The result was many amazing projects that proves how technology is so important in improving the world and make it a better place.
The first day was started by several lightening talks that introduced participants to trending technologies and skills that help them during the hackathon like augmented reality, AI with Watson APIs , Pitching , ideation and others. I was honored to represent Mozilla techspeakers and gave a talk about webXR API.
The diversity of the participants and mentors was impressing, the hackathon brought more than 120 participants from over 50 countries in one place. Participants were carefully selected depending on their background and skills and the female participation was so distinctive.
Brian chuk and I were co- mentors for a team of 6 amazing students, each was interested in specific fields.
The team was able to come up with a business plan, marketing strategy and a working prototype for a web application that helps coordinate donations to people in need in times of crisis. Also, they practiced hard to pitch the idea in-front of professional judges with long experience in different fields.
Our team was diverse in terms of specialization and nationalities. Mariam from UAE is a details oriented person with outstanding quite character and artistic sense. Danielle from Australia and Aymen from from Algeria were distinguished programmers they were able to spent day and night working on coding. Farouk from Egypt is a future business man he is so interested in doing marketing researches and he was able to look for any information related to money. Omarn Maktabi from Syria and Omar Hafez from Egypt were interested in user experience and front end developing they were responsible about providing the best design and experience to our project’s users .
It was so fun working with such amazing team. All were eager to learn and excited while working. The team was under pressure while practicing the pitching presentation in the last day but we still were able to keep our sense of humor and positivity, We did so good and were able to be the third place winner. 😀
The pitching presentations of all teams were so interesting and professional. It was the first time for me to attend a pitching for many teams without feeling bored . The ideas, the applications, the way of presenting all were so professional and pleasant .
I believe that after this experience each participant grow professionally and personally by expanding their network of professionals, introducing to new cultures and learning new tech and soft skills.
Moreover, the event was so well organized. It is clear that the organizers worked so hard and payed attention to all details to make it such amazing experience . Everything was of high quality; the food, the venue, the welcoming in the airport, the accommodation. At the begining of each day we had a mentor meeting so organizers make ensure that all is going well and solve any problem that may happened. Literally everything was perfect !
During my way to Abu dhabi from Queen Alia international airport I faced a problem in my passport and the employee did not allow me to check in for a problem in my Arabic name . My problem got solved immediately once I got contacted with Prof Sanaa Odeh who connected me to the travel agency. I mentioned this as an example of taking care of all big and small details.
Huge thanks to all organizers who brought this kind of event to the Arab world and who have been committed to organize one annually since 2011.
Finally, I believe that this hackathon has a long term positive impact on each participant. I kindly ask all tech companies to support it even by encouraging their employees to participate or by providing organizers with any kind of support they need to bring creative, innovative students from all around the world.
For more information please check https://nyuad.nyu.edu/en/events/2019/april/nyuad-hackathon-2019.html
Also, this twitter hashtag shows a lot about of how unique and fun this experience was. #NYUADHACK
Stay tuned for 2020 hackathon and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.