Today’s Imagine Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony was packed with celebrities and successful American business leaders, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, foursquare Co-founder Dennis Crowley, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Steve Ballmer welcomed the Imagine Cup finalists to New York City, congratulated them on their achievements and encouraged students to find their passion. The room was filled with excitement throughout the ceremony and the crowd broke into cheers when Ballmer announced that every Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist would receive an Xbox Kinect!

Imagine Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony

Jeffery D. Sachs gave an inspiring speech that urged students to use technology to change the world. He even gave the students a homework assignment: "Your homework assignment is to figure out to save the planet."

Imagine Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony

The crowd was fired up to see Dennis Crowley take the stage. The co-founder and CEO of foursquare spoke of the inspiration he found in New York City and reminded the audience that even very successful people have failures in their careers and it is important to keep trying. Upon his arrival, Crowley checked-in at the event via Foursquare and posted to Twitter, stirring up some excitement among our Twitter community.

Imagine Cup 2011 Openinig Ceremony

The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting followed by celebratory streamers!

Imagine Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony

South Africa will is represented by Team Komodo1 from the University of Cape Town

Follow them on twitter: @gohawkcoza

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/HAWK-An-Imagine-Cup-Project

Website: www.gohawk.co.za

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zajd162GSIk

Please vote for Team Komodo1 from UCT on the Imagine Cup People’s Choice Awards site.

Its quick, easy and only takes 3 steps:

1. Browse to the  video entry and wait for the voting functionality to appear.

2. Enter in the random words in the box and click on the clip_image001button.

Sign in with your Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo or even Google , if you must,  credentials, and voila! Your vote gets tallied against our team

NM