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Hacking problems not servers at the Vatican

VATICAN (CNS): The Vatican hosed a fast-paced gathering of students, developers and entrepreneurs from around the world from March 8 to 11 looking to find high-tech solutions for complex global issues.
 
The conference, VHacks: A hackathon at the Vatican, examined issues such as the migrant and refugee crisis, and focused on viewing matters from a different perspective, said Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
 
“When we talk about migrants and refugees, we tend to talk about it in vast terms as if it were a huge problem or a so-called global problem. But in fact, it’s a collection of very individual problems, particular problems of persons and of families,” Father Czerny said.
 
Several tech giants, including Google and Microsoft, sponsored the 36-hour hackathon, which “is a sprint-like event in which multi-disciplinary teams (including computer programmers, graphic designers, project managers) collaborate to create solutions under a time constraint,” a statement from VHacks said.
 
The 120 students who attended the conference sought to use technology to address other issues such as social inclusion and interfaith dialogue.
 
Speaking at a press briefing about the event, Monsignor Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, told journalists the idea of hosting a hackathon “was very important” for the Vatican and especially for Pope Francis.
 
“When I spoke to him about this idea, he was so happy and he said, ‘We must do it!’” Monsignor Ruiz said. “We discussed it with him and he wanted this idea, this project, to be a reality.”
 
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