UJAA and FGC – FIRST Global Challenge

(To learn more:  https://first.global/ )


The FIRST Global Challenge is a yearly Olympics-style robotics competition organized by the International FIRST Committee Association. It promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics STEM education and careers for youth and was created by Dean Kamen in 2016 as an expansion of FIRST, an organization with similar objectives..


Each year, FIRST Global invites one team from every nation across the globe to participate in an event that builds bridges between high school students with different backgrounds, languages, religions, and customs. By bringing these future STEM leaders together in an engaging and collaborative competition that drives home the importance, excitement, and applicability of STEM education, FIRST Global inspires students to learn the skills they will need to make the discoveries just plain science fiction.

Like FTC, FGC provides our students with several opportunities:

  • Technical Skills (build and program the robot),
  • Team Building Skills (how to work together for a common goal),
  • Communication and Collaboration Skills (how to meet, greet and engage),
  • Critical Thinking Skills (to consider the global challenges that the competition suggests)

In addition, FGC allows students to obtain a global perspective by visiting another country.

Team Jamaica Robotics has participated in FGC since its first competition in 2017 with the support of UJAA.  Over the years, UJAA has been responsible for the funding, coordination, and project management for Team Jamaica’s FGC participation, as well as interfacing with FIRST Global. Representatives from FTC Jamaica have coordinated the training, preparation and selection of the students who represent Jamaica at this competition. Team Jamaica Robotics is always a co-ed team from a cross-section of high schools in Jamaica.  In 2018 and 2019,  Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Information provided resources to assist with travel and housing for the team.

Over the years, participating schools have included:

America International School of Kingston, Ardenne High School, Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, Calabar High School, Glenmuir High School, Immaculate Conception High School, Jamaica College, Kingston College, St. Andrew Technical High School, St. George’s College, St. Jago High School, and Wolmer’s Boys High School.

Summary of Team Jamaica Robotics’ performance in FGC over the years.

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FIRST Global Challenge has been held in the following countries:

2017Washington D.C.,  USA
Theme: Providing Access to Clean WaterPlaced 48th out of 165 teams. In addition to the competition, the team was invited to a reception hosted by the Embassy, and were taken on sight-seeing tours that included the Air and Space Museum and the White House.
2018Mexico City, Mexico
Theme:  Energy ImpactPlaced 15th out of 186 teams. Our technical coach and mentor received one of the 6 Mentor Awardsand the team collected a Safety Award. The Jamaican Consul met and hosted the delegation for lunch, attended several matches and had one of the staff members accompany the team on a bus tour of the city.
2019Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Theme:  Ocean OpportunitiesPlaced 103rd out of 191 teams. Team received the Bronze Award for the Best Engineering Handbook. Hosted by Jamaica Diaspora community of educators in Dubai – Jamaica Middle East Diaspora (JMED) who assisted with hotel accommodations, site seeing tour of Abu Dhabi as well as dinner at Irie Jamaica – renowned Jamaican Restaurant.
2020VirtualTheme:  Connecting Communities
2021VirtualTheme:  Discover to Recover
2022Geneva, Switzerland
Theme:  Carbon CapturePlaced 72nd out of 179 teams. Team Jamaica received the Silver medal of the Albert Einstein Award for FIRST Global International Excellence.  Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc. (UJAA)received a Bronze Medal for the Al-Khwarizmi Award for Outstanding Supporter. The Jamaica Mission in Geneva hosted a luncheon for the delegation and arranged tours of the World International Property Organization (WIPO) and The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN.) See more about Team Jamaica Robotics 2022:  https://first.global/2022-nations/jamaica-2022/
2023Singapore (October 7 – 10)Theme:  Hydrogen Horizons

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