IOI 2013 officially opened on Sunday with a ceremony that featured Mexican sombreros, an Indigenous “welcome to country” and a flash mob.
The ceremony gave the students a chance to celebrate the national teams selected to compete in the prestigious competition.
The Mexican team wore sombreros in their national colours and audience members had the chance to catch hats thrown into the crowd from the Croatian team.
UQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry said informatics and its related subjects would only increase in importance over the coming years.
“The IOI is a very important event for The University of Queensland,” Professor Terry said.
“We take very seriously bringing in and supporting students who are good at the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).”
“These disciplines are absolutely critical to the future and how we solve many of the challenges we face in the world.”
Queensland science minister Ian Walker said the competition was also an excellent networking opportunity for participants.
“The knowledge you acquire and collaborations you make with other brilliant minds will have profound implications for all of human kind,” Mr Walker said.
Team leaders and contestants were surprised by a volunteer flash-mob, demonstrating the immense excitement and energy that has gone in to bringing the event to life.
Dancer Gianna Gillies from Brisbane studio Mad Dance House gave a solo performance to entertain students between the formal proceedings.
Indigenous elder Uncle Albert Holt welcomed the international students to Australia and reflected on the importance of multiculturalism for Australia and in the competition with students from 80 countries.
Coordinator Andree Phillips said she was pleased with how the IOI week was coming together so far.
“It was a really great opportunity to see everyone together,” Ms Phillips said.
“We took a chance, and weren’t sure if the flash mob was going to work, but it took everyone by surprise and went really well, so I’m happy with how everything went.”
PHOTOGRAPHS: Melanie Keyte