CONCORD - Governor Chris Sununu and New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen will travel today to the United Arab Emirates for a global announcement regarding FIRSTGlobal, Kamen's nonprofit advocating for STEM and robotics education around the world.
FIRST was founded in Manchester by Kamen in 1989, and has since grown into a global program with more than 600,000 students from 100-plus countries.
Governor Sununu has become a national leader and advocate for expanding robotics programs at the state level. In 2017, he created the Robotics Education Fund, a $1M initiative for public schools to implement robotics programs. In 2018, he announced the Governor's Cup - a competitive annual robotics competition in partnership between The University System of New Hampshire, the Community College System, and FIRST Robotics that provides a tuition-free semester within the University or Community College System for seniors on winning teams.
FIRST Global was established in 2016 to more quickly spread the importance of STEM around the world and to serve as a pipeline to bring more countries and more young people to the FIRST community. FIRST Global holds an annual Olympic-style robotics competition with teams representing countries around the world. The Inaugural FIRST Global Challenge was held in Washington in July 2017 and the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge was held in Mexico City. More than 160 countries participated in each of these events.
Ahead of the announcement, Governor Chris Sununu will attend a gathering of global government leaders and private-sector entrepreneurs convening to shed light on methodologies the private sector could engage in to support governments in tackling the global rise of inequality. This will serve as a precursor to the annual World Government Summit, being held in Dubai beginning on Sunday.
The summit brings the public and private sectors together to collaborate with world-renowned experts in order to help create a positive impact for citizens worldwide (www.worldgovernmentsummit.org).
"It is an honor to represent New Hampshire at this FIRST Global announcement," said Governor Chris Sununu. "I have the tremendous opportunity to sit on a global stage with world leaders in government and business to share best practices on how government can open up opportunity and find solutions to some of the world's most pressing economic inequality issues as well as discuss all that New Hampshire has to offer."
Kamen said he was also keenly interested in the opportunities the trip to Dubai could open up.
"I look forward to traveling to Dubai with Governor Sununu for the FIRST Global announcement," Kamen said. "This trip presents an exciting opportunity for us to tout New Hampshire's success at expanding student involvement in FIRST on a global scale in front of world leaders."
Gov. Sununu was invited by Dean Kamen to travel as invited guests of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and is attending in his official capacity as Governor of New Hampshire.
No taxpayer funds will be used for this trip, and the governor will always be available to act in his official elected capacity, a statement from the governor's office stated.
Gov. Sununu will return to New Hampshire on Monday.