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17-04-2014


Under the Sponsorship of the National Beverage Company Coca Cola/Cappy The International First Lego League for Educational Robot held at Birzeit University




Ramallah –The international First Lego League (FLL) for Educational Robot was recently held in Birzeit University, under the sponsorship of the National Beverages Company Coca Cola/Cappy (NBC) and in cooperation with Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence - Birzeit University and Shuhub Society for Excellence in Sciences and Education.  23 teams from the various provinces of Palestine participated in the event.
The FLL focused on natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, storms and fires, and how to deal with problems resulted therefrom.
 
 During the FLL, the participant teams demonstrated a civilized image represented in showing their achievements in the various topics determined by the FLL and presented to the referee committees.  Furthermore, such civilized image was demonstrated through the sportsmanship and love for competition among the participant teams, where interest and interaction by the participant students was remarkably apparent in the contest.
 
The FLL events were launched in the premises of Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence. The referee committees engaged in dialogue with the participant teams and listened to them addressing three topics, namely: scientific research, designing and programing robots, and team work. The referee work was supervised by specialized committees from Palestinian universities and the public and private sectors under the chairmanship of Dr. Ahmad Abu Haniyeh from Birzeit University.
 
The FLL events then moved to Martyr Kamal Nasser where rounds of challenging competition among the participant teams were organized and initiated by parading the participant teams at the rhythm of National Palestinian Anthem.  This was followed by the opening ceremony of the competition events in the presence of a large number of invitees from various sectors and governorates, as well as parents and people who are interested in creativity.
 
The opening ceremony started with a speech by Dr. Samia Hulilah, Vice-President of Birzeit University for Community Affairs, in which she expressed her pleasure that the FLL has been held in Birzeit University and in cooperation with Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence. 
 
She thanked the FLL organizers who have exerted distinguished efforts to introduce creative and unconventional activities and make them available for the students to benefit from them. She emphasized the importance of such leading model of unconventional education based on exploration and learning through practice. She also expressed her happiness to see the joy on the faces of the participant students.
 
On his part, Mr. Imad al-Hindi, General Manager of the National Beverages Company Coca Cola/Cappy confirmed that NBC’s support to FLL for the second year in row came in line with NBC’s conviction of the importance of sponsoring such activities which stimulate excellence, reasoning, exploration and discovery to upgrade the level of creative thinking.
 
 Mr. al-Hindi expressed his pride for having such events in Palestine, asserting his Company's keenness to participate in the process of developing the next generation by continuing its sponsorship for such events that would upgrade the level of education, creativity and reasoning among school students in Palestine. 
 
Dr. Sabri Saidam, Coordinator of Mamdouh and Jamelah Saidam Establishment for Development and Creativity, delivered a speech, in which he praised the efforts exerted to develop the FLL and increase the number of participant teams.  He called for efforts to be synergized and for increased attention to such creative activities which should be disseminated to include all schools of Palestine.  He confirmed his continuous support for the activity, and thanked Najjad Center and Birzeit University for their cooperation and for hosting the FLL continuously.
 
Mr. Waheed Jubran, Deputy Head of the Education Program in UNRAWA/West Bank, expressed his happiness for being present with the participating students.  He emphasized the interest by the Education Department of UNRAWA in creative activities, especially educational activities where UNRAWA's schools were increasingly keen to participate each year.
 
In his speech, Mr. Muhannad Omariah, Partner of the international First Lego League for Educational Robot in Palestine, thanked Birzeit University and Najjad Center for hosting the League and for their continuous cooperation to ensure its success.  He also thanked all partner institutions, referee committees and volunteers who directly contributed to the success of the event.  He extended special thanks to the National Beverages Company Coca Cola/Cappy for its sponsorship to the FLL for the second year in a row, and for their interest in and sponsorship of distinguished creative activities.
He further emphasized the importance of global topics addressed by FLL, and their adoption of international referee standards in the local FLL in Palestine.  He explained that the current topic of FLL, Natural Disasters, has triggered extensive movement among the people of Palestinian society and the related institutions.  Several workshops, seminars, and awareness lectures were organized in addition to the development of creative solutions by the participant teams to address problems resulted from natural disasters.
 
Mr. Omariah pointed out that the number of participant teams at the Arab level has been progressively increasing.  He reported that a specialized conference on robot sciences and artificial intelligence was held in December 2013. One of the most significant recommendations of the conference to the Ministries of Education in Arab world stressed the need to introduce robots to the various education stages in schools, open robot research centers and establish robot disciplines in the Arab universities.
Concluding his speech, Mr. Omariah announced that the title of the next FLL would be "the Future of Education" and that the focus during the next FLL would be on two things: firstly, how to obtain information and acquire skills and secondly, what kids need to learn and how.
 
Afterwards, the competition events among the participant teams started. As soon as the three rounds of challenge ended and the final results approved by the referee committees, the events of the closing ceremony started by the speech of Engineer Muneer Abed Raboo, Chairman of Shuheb Society for Excellence in Sciences and Education, in which he saluted the attendees and the participant teams.  He explained that Shuheb Society has endeavored to develop creativity and would work to disseminate the culture of robot in collaboration with partners, education institutions and interested people to increase the number of participant schools in the activity during the coming period.  He thanked Mamdouh and Jamelah Saidam Establishment for Development and Creativity for their sponsorship and support for a number of the participant teams in the FLL.
 
He also praised the efforts of trainers and supervisors who worked hard with faith and dedication to prepare their teams which came from several governorates of Palestine.
 
The results of FLL were as the following:                                                   
First position: First Askar School for Girls.
Second position: Qatanah Basic School for Girls.
Third position: Noor Shams Basic School for Boys.