From the Hearts of Thai Youth Representatives for International Robotics Competition

(Translated from Thai)

October 14, Bangkok, Thailand —

Thailand will be sending its first team of representatives in the global robotics competition, “The 2019 FIRST Global Challenge”, themed “Ocean Opportunities”, which aims to raise awareness of ocean pollution and encourage collaboration in order to solve these challenges in a local, national, and global scale.

On the 24th to 27th October, the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge under the “Ocean Opportunities” theme will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in order to raise awareness of the issues regarding ocean pollution and to bring about collaboration to solve these problems. More than 190 countries are expected to be participating in this event — dubbed the Olympics of science, technology, and international relations — held this year for the third time. This will be the first occasion Thailand takes part in this competition.

After following news of the FIRST Global Challenge and noticing that there had not been a team from Thailand, Justin Worboys, a teacher at The American School of Bangkok Green Valley, pushed to register a team for this year’s event and held a selection process to determine five student members. For future years, plans to select interested youths to represent Team Thailand are under discussion.

Team Thailand consists of five students from The American School of Bangkok Green Valley: Kanyanat Sunchatavirul (Noinah), Vivien Leeprom (Moji), Nonthakarn Utamee (Noni), Aung Hein Khant (Jack), and Thanat Ingkhasurawat (Dan), whom are supported by their mentors: Justin Worboys (Head Coach), Teerani Sutthipansakul, and Maria Sinsap.

“The FIRST Global Challenge is a celebration and convention of the leaders of tomorrow,” said Wil Losereewanich, a first-year engineering student at Chulalongkorn University and a former participant of the FIRST Robotics Competition, who has been volunteering to mentor the team.

“Every youth participant will be gathering to learn how develop solutions to solve the world’s problems through science, technology, and international collaboration. It is much more than a competition. The goal of the event is not to compete in order to win awards, but for the youth to gain inspiration in STEM and to realize how they can make positive impacts on the world. To solve the problems we currently face, we need to empower young people who will become the future’s driving force.”

Noinah, Kanyanat Sunchatavirul, a sophomore student, shared her experiences regarding the ocean pollution situation in Thailand, when she noticed huge amounts of garbage littered over the seas and beaches in Pattaya. Recounting the story of “Marium”, a beloved dugong who died earlier this year due to plastic ingestion and how the news trembled the country, she believes that marine litter is a major global issue and that all must work together and discuss the ways to eliminate the pollutants.

“Going into this competition, our eyes are not on the prizes; instead, we look forward to the cooperation and collaboration with new friends from different countries. We will be representing a small force of change that will build bridges with other nations and we hope to gain new perspectives to better understand our world. Additionally, we want to inspire the future youths who will be a part of the FIRST Global Challenge.”

Vivien Leeprom, or Moji, also a sophomore, said that ocean debris affects every one of us and people from all sectors must join hands together to solve this issue. Waste management must carried out efficiently lest the problem be exacerbated. She hopes that attending this event will increase the public awareness regarding this situation.

Moji described the team’s preparation for this event and how they would try their hardest, despite the limited time from having received the robot kit only two months prior.

Noni, Nonthakarn Utamee, a junior, elaborated on how Team Thailand was working on designing and build the robot and the challenges he faced from being a complete beginner in robotics. He looks forward to the meeting of youths from many different countries and the exchange of ideas. He also believes that if the litter problem isn’t fixed by his generation, it will leave a burden to the next, making it crucial that all take part in the global attempt to solve this issue.

The FIRST Global Challenge is organized by FIRST Global (International FIRST Committee), a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia. It holds the international FIRST Global Challenge in each year to ignite passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) within more than two billion youths across the globe.

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