A Whole New Kind of Olympics!
FIRST Global to Host More than 150 Nations in U.S. Capital for World’s 1st High School-level Robot Olympics

Dean Kamen’s FIRST Global Challenge to be Held at DAR Constitution Hall from 16-18 July 2017 in Washington, D.C.

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2017

Alexandria, VA. – FIRST Global is launching a whole new kind of Olympics, but this time with a focus on what the next generation’s ingenuity can give us. With competitors as diverse as an all-female Muslim/Christian team from Jordan to a rural Honduran team whose members must cross a mountain to attend school, FIRST Global will host one team from each of more than 150 nations (in addition to six continental representatives) that have committed to compete in the world’s first high school-level robot Olympics – the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge in Washington, DC.

          – Full list of participating nations below

Founded by philanthropic inventor Dean Kamen to inspire a passion for science and technology leadership and innovation among the world’s more than two billion youths, FIRST Global ( provides the framework for an Olympics-style robotics event that drives home the importance of obtaining the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills our future leaders will need to overcome the greatest challenges facing our world – today and tomorrow.

“By engaging the students of the world in a collaborative competition to help solve the world’s most pressing problems, FIRST Global inspires students to learn the skills they will need to make the discoveries their parents and grandparents would consider miracles, fantasies, or just plain science fiction,” said FIRST Global Founder Dean Kamen.

Due to the universally recognized importance that STEM education will play in addressing our world’s most pressing issues in the years to come, teams participating in the global robotics event include nations from all six inhabited continents, a few of which include: Ghana, Namibia, and Sudan from Africa; Iran, Yemen, China, and Vietnam from Asia; Serbia, Russia, United Kingdom, and Spain from Europe; Mexico, Nicaragua, and Canada from North America; Australia and New Zealand from Oceania; and Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia from South America. There will even be a Syrian national team that will compete alongside a team of Syrian refugees at this first-of-a-kind global event.

In an overwhelming show of support for their teams and the FIRST Global mission to encourage national governments and non-governmental organizations to invest in STEM education, more than 20 nations ranging from Turkey, Iraq, and Brazil, to Finland, Austria, and Italy, are already looking into sending official diplomatic delegations to the FIRST Global opening ceremony on 16 July 2017. Inspiration for the theme of the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge is being drawn from one of the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by the national engineering academies of the United States, United Kingdom, and China. To underscore the global importance of these issues, the three engineering academies will attend the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge’s Closing Ceremony to show their support. One of the most pressing and universally relatable of the 14 Challenges across all nations is the issue of access to clean, drinkable water.

Whether due to severe droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa or substandard plumbing in United States, water insecurity is more than just a theoretical problem to overcome, as water related diseases result in the death of a child approximately every 60 seconds. To raise awareness about the current and future dangers of the issues surrounding water security, the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge will focus on access to clean, drinkable water – which has proven to be a potent source of political, economic, and social strife in nations throughout the world – by incorporating the theme into the game design within which all 161 teams will be competing.

In keeping with FIRST Global’s mission to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation internationally, the FIRST Global Challenge will take place in a different nation each year.

“By bringing the future STEM leaders of the world together in an engaging and collaborative environment that teaches them to communicate, cooperate, and work together, using the tools of science and engineering, they will gain the trust with one another that enhances a more truly global community despite differences and preconceived notions,” Dean Kamen explained.

The chart below highlights the countries and continental teams that have committed to sending their robotics representatives to the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, along with those with whom we are still working to find potential participants for this global event.
Nations Attending the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge
To learn more, contact:
+1 (818) 642-6073 

FIRST Global Mission: The FIRST Global mission is to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people from all nations in order to increase understanding, instill the importance of cooperation, address the world’s most pressing issues, and improve quality of life for all. This mission is accomplished through the FIRST Global Challenge, which culminates with an international robotics game that will rotate among different nations each year. By showing the youth of the world that if they communicate, cooperate, and work together using the tools of science and engineering to find solutions to the world’s grand challenges – water, energy, security, medicine, food, and education – they will be able to accomplish great things and become part of a truly global community.

FIRST Global Challenge: The FIRST Global Challenge is an annual robotics game that will address one of the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the national engineering academies of the United States, United Kingdom, and China. Each year, a different issue of global importance will take center stage as the theme of that year’s FIRST Global Challenge, which will be held in a different nation across the world.

Global STEM Corps: The Global STEM Corps (GSC) is FIRST Global’s 21st century answer to a world in need of an inspired generation of young adults ready to tackle global challenges. Through GSC, grassroots volunteers work to motivate students across the globe to pursue fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding lives through STEM education by mentoring them for an “Olympics”-style robotics event. These community-based volunteers range from civic minded high school and college students, to entire university robotics and engineering departments. The STEM Corps brings the universal elements of science, cooperation, and competition to the world stage by connecting mentors and FIRST Global competitors online and over the phone – making it possible to stay in touch anytime, anywhere.

FIRST Global Founder: Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology innovation. His roles as an inventor and an advocate are intertwined with his passion for practical, real world uses of technology, and his personal determination to spread excitement for and the virtues of STEM to the more than two billion youths around the world. Dean’s drive comes from his firm belief that the tools of science and engineering will help equip the world’s youth to solve the most pressing global challenges we face as a planet, both today and tomorrow. 

FIRST Global President: Joe Sestak is a former Admiral and Congressman who commanded an aircraft carrier battle group during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, served as President Clinton’s Director for Defense Policy in the White House, and headed the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit during his 31 years of naval service. Retiring when his daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, Joe entered politics upon her recovery to fight for everyone to have the healthcare that saved her life. After leaving Congress, Joe taught at various universities while working for nonprofits focused on refugees, disaster response, education, and foreign policy.

Copyright © 2017 FIRST Global, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list