ABU DHABI, (Pakistan Point News - 25th Oct, 2023) The final round of the Global IT Challenge (GITC) for Youth with Disabilities 2023 competition kicked off Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
This competition, being held for the first time in the middle East and North Africa region, has attracted over 500 participants representing 18 countries, with participants from 16 countries present in person and two countries participating virtually through video conferencing.
Participants from diverse corners of the globe have converged in Abu Dhabi to vie for top honours in six competitive categories. Organised by the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Korea) and LG Electronics, this competition is a testament to the growing importance of inclusion and innovation in the field of IT. The culmination of this extraordinary challenge will see student champions celebrated in an awards ceremony set for Friday, 27th October.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the challenge, Abdualla Al Humidan, Secretary–General of ZHO, said, “The United Arab Emirates places significant emphasis on all its citizens, particularly those with disabilities, to ensure their empowerment and integration into society, harnessing their potential for work and development. Further the Federal Law No 29 of 2006 was enacted to secure their rights in various areas, including healthcare, education, employment and social aspects. Additionally, a national policy was launched to empower them and ensure their equal participation in an inclusive society. The policy also aims to protect them from harm, reflecting the comprehensive strategy for people of determination in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2020-2024 with the aim of making the emirate an inclusive, accessible and enabling city for people with disabilities.”
He added, “Hosting this competition in Abu Dhabi for the first time complements the successes achieved in the care and rehabilitation of various categories of people with disabilities, to allow them to create a serious, active, and productive model with their peers outside this category. This model aligns with the comprehensive renaissance that the country is experiencing and raises our country's status to place it among the advanced countries in providing comprehensive care and services to its citizens, reflecting cultural advancement and development.”
He also expressed his hope that this global gathering will mark the beginning of cooperation and the forging of friendships among all participants with disabilities. He wished them all a pleasant stay and effective participation in this challenge, emphasising that the ZHO values the trust of the Korean organisation in hosting the challenge in Abu Dhabi, and looks forward to making this hosting on the UAE's soil ideal to prove to the world our superior ability to impress everyone on every occasion.
The Grand Finale of GITC 2023 spans two exhilarating days, from October 25th to 26th, featuring a series of captivating competitions. The first day showcases two prominent contests: eCreative Smart Car, assessing participants' skills in self-driving car programming using the Scratch program, and eContent, where participants creatively create and edit videos on specific topics.
The second day presents four more challenges: eToolPpt evaluates presentation slide creation and editing skills, etool Excel assesses proficiency in data functions, calculations, and editing under specific conditions, eLifeMap measures the ability to use the internet to address everyday life challenges, and eCreativeIOT assesses the ability to improve the lives of people with disabilities through IT or innovative ideas.
At the Opening Ceremony, In-kyu Kim, Chair of GITC Organising Committee, said, “We are extremely excited to be able to hold the Final round on-site in the United Arab Emirates, along with the online participation. The GITC and its side events provide an opportunity for each of us to expand our knowledge and experience as well as reach beyond the borders and barriers in our lives. This year we have young people representing Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea.”
The global challenge is accompanied by the Innovation and Inclusion Forum (INI): As a strong addition to the event in this edition, it is held on the second day (October 26). Focusing on "Digital Inclusion and Human Rights," the forum provides a platform for constructive dialogue and collective thinking among government officials, experts, and representatives from different countries. The forum highlights the importance of bridging the digital gap, especially in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and ensuring the fair participation of individuals with disabilities in the digital age.
It holds three main sessions: the first is a panel discussion that delves deeply into the details of digital inclusion and human rights, the second is a thought session that focuses on the milestones and achievements accomplished during the challenge, while the third session discusses future pathways and strategies for digital inclusion and empowerment.
The main goal of the Innovation and Inclusion Forum is to explore and investigate matters related to inclusive information technology policies and programs. In the context of the global forum, special attention is given to understanding and addressing considerations specific to the UAE and the wider Arab world. It is expected that the dialogue will integrate emerging technologies, highlighting the multiple opportunities it offers to people with disabilities.
GITC 2023 goes beyond competitions as coinciding with the event, the ZHO is organising an exhibition, a first in GITC's history. This exhibition aims to highlight various applied practices and local experiences in technology and artificial intelligence. It provides a platform to showcase the products and projects of people of determination, furthering their integration into society.
Organised under the visionary leadership of the ZHO, GITC 2023 is poised to be a game-changer. The event, a beacon of inclusivity and innovation, is not merely a competition; it's a celebration of determination, innovation, and the power of technology. The Primary goal of this event is to strengthen the information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities of youth with disabilities, laying the foundation for their social advancement, and increasing awareness of digital accessibility.