Global Ties KC Launches 2nd Cohort of Global Robotics Exchange

What is the Global Robotics Exchange?

On April 6th, Global Ties KC kicked off the second cohort of the Global Robotics Exchange (GRE). The GRE is a virtual exchange program funded by The Stevens Initiative. The first session included about 100 participants from the US, Libya, and Morocco. FIRST Robotics competitions are an exciting extracurricular STEM competition for students to solve real-world engineering problems in fun, rewarding, and inspiring ways. The GRE connects FIRST Robotics teams from around the world to explore other cultures, discuss professional skills, and learn about robotics, with the primary goal being that youth from the US and MENA region not only learn from each other, but also build lasting relationships far beyond the scope of the program.

This first session’s professional development talk was led by our very own Sarah Lowderman, Program Director, who utilized The DeBruce Foundation material to walk students through a discussion of their “Agilities” or essential work skills. Understanding these Agilities helps students assess their skills, market themselves effectively, and navigate the job market.

What is the impact?

What makes this program particularly inspiring is the opportunity it affords to its participants. In the fall of 2023, six of the Moroccan teams that participated in the GRE could not have competed in the FIRST competitions without the help of this program. Furthermore, one of the Moroccan FIRST Lego League teams that participated in the GRE last fall even qualified to the world championship, which will take place in late April!

Another aspect of the GRE that is so encouraging is the connections that the students and teams make. In the previous cohort, over 100 students were on our GRE WhatsApp group, sharing their culture with others and discussing their shared interests in robotics. In this cohort, each team will be paired with a team from another country, making pairs of what we call “sister teams”. This will be an opportunity for teams to have an even closer relationship to share ideas and assist each other as they build their robots. At the world championships later in April, two GRE teams, one from the US, and one from Morocco, even plan to meet up and share much-needed robotics parts before the competition!

Global Ties KC is partnering with key organizations to make this happen. Thank you to the KC STEM Alliance, Lybotics, and Robots & More.

The Global Robotics Exchange is implemented by Global Ties KC and is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.