This year for the first time ever, the Italian Society for International Organization in partnership with the United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy and support of the Food and Agriculture Organization, has organized the ZERO Hackathon. Within three days, from the 30th of November until the 2nd of December, 160 students from all over the world gathered at the FAO Headquarters in Rome to create projects and discuss ideas aimed at solving some of the world’s most burning issues. Divided into 20 teams, each got a chance to tackle difficult topics in a form of five different challenges: climate change, the zero hunger generation, building sustainable food systems in urban areas, environmental crimes and preservation of the marine and ocean world.
The main scope was for the participants to find modern solutions for real threats to our environment and agriculture by being creative and innovative, but perhaps more importantly – by working together as a team. Since the team members were mainly assigned based on their major in order to create diversity within the team, the final results were quite impressive and well analyzed through all relevant aspects. Having little time to familiarize with the people you’re working with and fully develop new ideas is not something that happens on a daily basis and it may be a rather difficult task. Regardless, the lever of cooperation and understanding between the participants themselves made it possible for them not to worry about such possible setbacks. Working in a symbolical and inspiring surrounding such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Headquarters, along with the encouragement presented by the highly qualified mentors and positive feedback given by the supervisors during the whole event helped us unlock our full potential and create projects on a much larger scale. The ZERO Hackathon taught us how to use modern technologies and media to develop our ideas and make them globally known. Moreover, as a good incentive to perform well on the project, the best five teams were awarded scholarships, internships and study trips. Deciding the top five was an exceptionally competent judging panel, which made the final pitching a lot more exciting.
The professionalism shown by the organizers, skilled supervisors and media team made the ZERO Hackathon a truly wonderful experience, where participants not only got a chance to express their knowledge, but also learn a lot more about the problems of today’s world and possible solutions, as well as acquire new skills along the way. Needless to say that one of the most important things that everyone will carry with themselves are the beautiful memories of both the Hackathon and Rome, as well as the friendships that were made during these three days. Above all, each one of us went back to our normal life routines bearing in mind that there are a lot of people who just like us care about the future and are ready to work together for a better one.