Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Gesche Joost from Germany, interviewed Antonis Hadjiantonis from Cyprus.

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Antonis, who are you?

In no particular order, I am an engineer and a researcher, a husband and a father! I am passionate about ICT research and innovation. Having spent more than 10 years on applied RTDI on mobile communication systems and autonomic wireless networks through a Dipl-Ing, a PhD and a Postdoc, I now work as a Senior Engineer at Cyprus Research and Innovation Center (CyRIC). At CyRIC we develop novel products and provide RTDI services in the fields of Energy, Health, Agriculture, Environment and Transport. For example, innovative solar thermal glass facades with adjustable transparency for green buildings (Project FLUIDGLASS) and a non-intrusive wearable shoe-based system used for injury rehabilitation (Project WiShoe ). 

How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?

Code learning is definitely gaining momentum in Cyprus. Although it is not yet mainstream, we hope to change this with Code Week Cyprus. Momentum has been increasing since 2013, with volunteer initiatives like Hack{Cyprus} Youth Day, Create with Code and Robots, Hack{Cyprus} Code School, and Code Cyprus, which aim to introduce coding, robotics and mobile apps to students in Cyprus with a series of events like junior hackathons, competitions and treasure hunts. To this end, I should praise the support of Engino, an award-winning company from Cyprus that makes educational robotic kits, who have donated kits for events mentioned above.

Recently, the first CoderDojo Cyprus was founded, aiming to host weekly code learning activities for youngsters. Through these initiatives we have seen a great response from kids, who not only want to learn hands-on about coding, but also take responsibility and start to teach one another.

Why are you involved as an EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?

Last year I had the joy of participating as a volunteer at Hack{Cyprus} Youth Day, where it was the first time I was involved in teaching kids to code. While I’ve been lecturing several Computer Science and Engineering courses at University level and really enjoy teaching, the experience of teaching kids was totally different. Seeing the thirst of knowledge and sense of self-achievement in their eyes was very fulfilling and would definitely recommend to anyone.

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During last year’s joint EU Code Week and Robotics Week I was happy to co-organise the main local event titled Create with Code and Robots, and made a pledge to raise awareness about how ICT can help our society be more inclusive and accessible. These motives pushed me to volunteer this year as Cyprus’ Code Week Ambassador.

Through my involvement I expect to raise awareness in Cyprus about code learning, not only as an indispensable skill for future employment but most importantly as a way of thinking and solving problems. As this year’s motto states, coding can bring your ideas to life and I am positive that it can instil self-confidence and fuel creativity in every age.

Apart from that, I also expect to bring Code Week and its objectives to the attention of local stakeholders, especially government and public bodies that deal with Education and Employment. We already have the support of our National Digital Champion and we hope to get the message across the Ministry of Education and to every school in the country.

Do you have a hero, or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?

Every parent is a hero for me, having to raise kids in this crazy world. I am especially inspired by parents of kids with disabilities, because, in spite of all the technological advancements around us, accessibility and inclusion in our society is still elusive. Coding can provide more tools for these heroes, so with the help of our national Young Advisor Christos Demetriades we want to raise awareness on eAccessibility and eInclusion with a dedicated open workshop in the context of Cyprus Code Week.

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Author: codeeu

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