Microsoft and the KRG Department of Information Technology last week hosted the 2nd annual Imagine Cup 2012 - Kurdistan competition in Erbil.
The competition is a global endeavor organized by Microsoft to spur students' creativity in order to help solve the world's toughest problems through technology. This year's winning team, Mirage Tech, devised a software programme for preventing road accidents and traffic jams called "Easy Road." They will now go on to represent the Kurdistan Region in the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals.
Commenting on this year's contest, the head of the KRG Department of IT, Mr Botan Osman said, "The number of the participating universities/colleges compared to last year more than doubled, and this is a clear sign that Imagine Cup has established itself as a platform for students all over the Kurdistan region of Iraq to innovate in technology and help build a better future. We are very proud of this event" added Mr. Osman.
Sayed Hashish, Microsoft's Regional General Manager for North Africa, the East Mediterranean and Pakistan, said, "Ten years ago, Microsoft launched the Imagine Cup competition with the idea that students can and will change the world. What you saw today is the result of many months of hard work, brainstorming and above all a determination to make a positive difference in addressing some of the world's most pressing challenges."
"This year, we had a great selection of excellent projects many deserving to represent Iraq in Australia." "What we witnessed today is a generation of future entrepreneurs and professionals who have a promising future and will certainly make an impact in Iraq and the region," he added.
Through the Imagine Cup competition, participants contribute to meeting UN Millennium Development Goals by designing software solutions to address these challenges. This year, the Mirage Tech team members, from the American University of Iraq -- Suleimani, won Windows phone devices offered by Nokia as well as an opportunity to participate in the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Competition in taking place in Sydney, Australia, from July 6 - 10.
In 2011, the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition attracted about 350,000 students from over 180 countries and regions, and allowed four students from Kurdistan Region of Iraq to showcase their solutions in the competition's worldwide finals in New York.
Microsoft and the KRG department of Information Technology organized the event in which 132 students in 44 teams from all the major universities in Kurdistan participated. These teams created technology solutions to combat diseases, improve education, ensure environmental sustainability, reduce child hunger and poverty, and tackle other social challenges.
The KRG Department of Information Technology (www.krgit.org) was founded in 2007, and its mission is to lead the development of IT and modernise the KRG through a unified IT policy. It is currently implementing a five year IT Blueprint for the region to deliver e-government and increase ICT capacity and development in the region.