Thanks to all Participants!

Challenge outline

How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion.” - Pope Francis

What is VHacks?

In 2018, the first-ever hackathon at The Vatican, known as VHacks, will take place from March 8th to the 11th. Combining the words “hacking” and “marathon”, a hackathon is a sprint-like event in which multi-disciplinary teams (including computer programmers, graphic designers, project managers, etc.) collaborate to create solutions under a time constraint.

For the first time in history, VHacks brings the concept of a hackathon to The Vatican. Organized by OPTIC, a global think-tank dedicated to ethical issues of disruptive technologies and The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, this global event will bring together innovators of all faiths and ethnicities. With the support of The Pontifical Council for Culture, Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, and students from Harvard and MIT, VHacks is committed to bridging technology with human-centered values.

Aims of the VHacks

VHacks will target important global issues, including social inclusion, interfaith dialogue, and the migrant & refugee crisis.

Specifically, the mission of VHacks is to:

1. Leverage technology to address current global problems centered on hackathon themes.

2018 Hackathon themes center on 3 key issues:

Social Inclusion: Encourage solidarity by restoring human-centric thinking and values in our increasingly digital world.
Interfaith Dialogue: Support open communication between individuals and organizations representing differing faiths to create mutual understanding and constructive cooperation.
Migrants & Refugees: Strengthen, support, and mobilize resources for migrants and refugees to assist them with relocation and integration.

2. Promote collaboration among youth leaders across diverse academic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

3. Encourage value-based institutions to embrace technology to further their missions.

The event will be a true celebration of all cultures and beliefs, bringing together the world’s brightest students with diverse academic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

Participants will be selected through a combination of top-tier partner universities providing teams and an open, online application process where any student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program is eligible to apply. 120 participants are chosen based on academic accomplishments, innovative thinking, and alignment with our mission statement. All local costs associated with VHacks will be covered and additional travel assistance may be granted on a per-case basis.

More about the event

The capstone to the event will include two panels exploring the implications of technological advancement on human development and a post-hackathon expo. Speakers will hail from leading tech firms and Vatican institutions. Selected hackathon participants, corporate partners, and institutions will showcase their innovations at the VHacks Expo.


The event is sponsored by the world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and pro-bono institutions, such as The Foundation for the Evangelization through the Media (FEM). Major news agencies such WIRED, EWTN, and The Catholic News Agency are conducting in-depth coverage.

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Additional information

For more details click the button 'I want to participate', then 'Show details'. Find out more about hackathons in our hackathon section.

Where and when

Vatican City State
March 8-11, 2018