Networking app for skilled refugees wins first prize at NYU Abu Dhabi International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World 2017


Abu Dhabi, April 19, 2017: Hiat, an application designed to connect skilled refugees and the local community in an easy-to-use gig economy platform has won top honors at NYU Abu Dhabi’s 7th Annual International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World.

The application was designed by a team of six students who were mentored by Islam El Ashi, a software engineer at Twitter. Camilo Luciano from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Amr Aljundi from the American University of Sharjah; Vladimir Ilievski from Ecole Polutechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland; Sonia Xu, Hacking Medicine, MIT, USA; Radwa Hamed from the American University in Cairo and Munira Alali from Khalifa University UAE worked together over three days to design Hiat.

The second prize went to 3ndi Headache, an application designed to automate triage nursing, thereby reducing response time remarkably and improving efficiency of patient handling. Five of the seven members of this team – Daniel Watson, Hayat Al Hasan, Moiri Gamboni, Chenhao Xu and Munachiso Nwadike are students at NYUAD, while the additional team members, Khalid Abul Borghol and Eithar Al Faith are from American University of Sharjah and the University of Khartoum in Sudan respectively.


Third place was shared by the teams responsible for devising the An Nahr and Tarakeeb apps. An Nahr is an interactive hardware/software solution that addresses the issue of water wastage during the Wudhu (ablution) at the mosques. By providing feedback to the users, the app attempts to raise awareness and bring about a change to behavior by encouraging positive water saving.

The team behind An Nahr are Zakaria Belkham from M’Hamed Bouguerra University of Boumerdés Algeria; Abdur Rahman Hijazi from Birla Institute of Technology, UAE; Emmad Arif  from Yale University, USA;  Elissa Mkanna  from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Driss El Ouiqary from the National School of Applied Sciences of Tangier, Morocco;  Abdelrazaq Al-Sharif, Innovation Engineer StartAD, UAE and Seyed Mohammad Ahlesaadat from NYUAD. The team was mentored by Fahim Dalvi of Qatar Computing Research Institute, Sama Kanbour of General Electric, Qatar and Joyce Zhang of the Boston Consulting Group, USA.

Tarakeeb is an automated grammar checker that can help teach or improve Arabic language and was devised by Lama Ahmad from NYUAD; Fahmi Alnajjar from Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Jordan;  Maha Amjad from NUCES FAST, Pakistan; Skye Im from  NYU Shanghai and Shorook Saleh from the University of Sharjah, UAE.


Aspiring hackers from across the globe came together at NYUAD from April 14 for the three-day event. Participants were divided into 10 teams and mentored by renowned international computer science professors, founders of successful startups, technology professionals, and venture capitalists. Amongst them was Farah Shamout, NYUAD alumna, previous first place team member at NYUAD Hackathon, and a Rhodes Scholar currently studying at the University of Oxford. Farah mentored the team responsible for Teslam, the recipient of the audience award.

Teslam is a service to visualize actionable data in the Arab world related to non-communicable diseases -specifically obesity & diabetes – through big data & machine learning, to share with government and business entities, and to educate the targeted subjects of these diseases through a conversational intelligent chat bot.


The event is organized by Founder and Chair for NYUAD Hackathon, Clinical Professor of Computer Science at NYU New York and Affiliated Faculty at NYUAD Sana Odeh. Speaking about the scope of the hackathon in its 7th edition and the innovations that were proposed during the three days she said: “This edition of the Hackathon has thrown up some wonderfully innovative solutions and powerful ideas and this made the judges’ jobs particularly difficult. The calibre of the participants was remarkably impressive and what they were able to achievein three days would normally take months to put together.

“The purpose behind the NYUAD Hackathon is to stimulate and enable an environment conducive for innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship in computer science. By bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we have sought to broaden the scope of understanding of the participants – something that is crucial for innovation to flourish,” she added.

For further information on the 2017 Annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World, visit

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