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UOWD team win place to represent the Arab world at Microsoft's Imagine Cup finals

Sunday, 14 June, 2015

A team of students from the University of Wollongong in Dubai have recently secured their place at the international finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup in Seattle, the world’s most prestigious student technology competition, after impressing the judges at the Pan Arab Semi-Finals of the competition held in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Competing in the World Citizenship category of the competition,  UOWD students Hiba Nayef, Artaza Aziz and Jawad Jandali Refai showcased their innovative mobile application, LAMAPP, to a team of judges headed up by Mr Jeffrey Avina, Citizenship Director of Microsoft Middle East and Africa. LAMAPP enables those who witness domestic violence to be able to confidentially and reliably report incidences to the authorities, along with offering vital support for women suffering domestic abuse.

The Imagine Cup Pan Arab Semi-Finals were the culmination of months of hard work for the team who won the UAE finals with their invention last month. During the semi-finals, the trio joined 36 other first-prize winners of national rounds from 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa region, to vie for places at the world finals due to be held in Seattle from 27- 31 July 2015.

Competing across Gaming, Innovation and World Citizenship categories, the teams were judged on the concept of their innovation, its execution, the use of technology, the relevance to the category and the feasibility of the invention.

Joining the team from UOWD in the finals are ‘Back in Time’ – a post-apocalyptic game created by a team from Tunisia, and a brain controlled robot which uses brain wave reading technology to help paralysed people to communicate created by a team from Palestine.

Along with a place at the world finals, winning teams were also awarded with a $7,000 cash prize.

Commenting on the win, LAMAPP’s Project Manager Hiba Nayef said: “This year saw 13 other teams participate in the World Citizenship category during the semi-finals and they all had fantastic ideas. We are so happy we made it and we are so excited to be participating in the final. We’re going to spend the next six weeks finalising our project ready for the global stage – we can’t wait to see if we can bring the Cup home to the UAE and the Arab region.”

If Hiba and the team are successful in their Imagine Cup bid, they will meet the CEO of Microsoft, win $50,000 and be give the opportunity to work on a new wearable device that the technology giant are launching later this year.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup Pan Arab Semi-Finals was held under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), and was attended by an array of dignitaries and delegates from Bahrain and the Arab World. The event was held in partnership with the EDB and supported by Tamkeen, eGovernment Authority (eGA), Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), the National Bank of Bahrain, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), YK Almoayyed, Batelco, Exceed IT Services & Training and Gulf Future Business.