400 students, plus mentors, judges, press, and Microsoft employees gathered at the Palace of Culture to celebrate the beginning on the world finals. Attendees were greeted by Jacek Murawski, General Manager for Microsoft Poland, who talked about the change of the world that students competing are contributing to. Murawski told the story of his family and talked about his two young children, saying that he was counting on the students here today to change the world for the better for his children.
Murawski then introduced Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland who thanked the students for coming to Warsaw, discussed the fact that Poland is the only nation in the European Union with a growing economy, and encouraged the students to talk to one another, to learn from one another, and to explore the culture here in Poland. Pawlak then ended his speech by congratulating the students and thanking Microsoft for its support of students.
Jon Perera, General Manager for Microsoft’s worldwide education efforts then addressed the students. He talked to them about their efforts so far, he congratulated them on coming this far, and he talked about the Imagine Cup as whole. Perera announced that 325,000 students from more than 100 countries competed in this year’s Imagine Cup. Perera said today’s students have access to technologies that didn’t exist just a few years ago. He talked about technologies like Windows Azure, Windows Phone 7, and Silverlight. As the competition begins, Perera encouraged students to take 20 minutes and either by themselves or with their teams, go off somewhere away from the noise and reflect on their journey, to take it all in, and to have a moment to themselves.
Perera was then joined on stage by Murawski and Deputy Prime Minister Pawlak for the ribbon cutting with marked the official opening of the 2010 Imagine Cup World Finals. After the ribbon cutting, students were then treated to a concert by local band Zakopower.
Today students will begin competing and tonight an announcement will be made for the teams that are advancing to the second round.