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Rome Reports

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The Vatican welcomes “hackathon,” a marathon for computer science experts

For the first time ever, the Vatican is welcoming a “hackathon,” a marathon where computer science experts will work for 32 hours straight to create apps and technological tools to solve social problems. In this case, “hacking” is not something negative, as it will be used for good causes. 

Nearly 120 computer science students from 60 universities worldwide will sit in front of their screens and try to provide solutions in three areas – social inclusion, interfaith dialogue and migrants and refugees. 

JAKUB FLORKIEWIC Manager, Hackathon “The biggest part of this is to invite and inspire people all around the world and to invite young people that have technological skills to use these technological skills to adapt it to the problems. It can be on an individual level, on a regional or in a local level, or in a country or on a global scale. We just hope to inspire people to invite youth to use technical skills to address the common causes, common problems in any type of situation and region.”

FR. MICHAEL CZERNY Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development “For example, if somebody has lost their documents, is there an app that would help them recover their documents or get a temporary document that they need? Sometimes it takes people years to get a document, and without it, they can't move back and they can't move forward.”

The event has the support of the Vatican secretary of state and will allow the students to come in contact with the main technology firms around the world. 

Once the marathon has ended and the best 10 projects are selected, they will be displayed at a virtual presentation. To conclude the event, participants will receive the pope's blessing this Sunday.