Pope Francis taps into tech’s higher power and helps write code alongside Code.org founder

Tabs or spaces? Only the Pope knows.

Pope Francis tapped his way into computer history on Thursday by joining three young women from around the world to contribute a line of code to an app aimed at promoting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Seattle entrepreneur and Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi was on hand to present the event as part of a project called “Programming for Peace.”

The event, organized by the Pope’s foundation, Scholas Occurrentes, in Vatican City, featured the Pope calling on students around the world to learn computer science and to use their creativity for the common good. And it was reportedly the first time a Pope had ever written code.

Matilde Fábrega Vivanco, 11, from Chile; Nicole Rodriguez, 13, from New York; and Liuren Yin, 16, from China, are all students learning computer science in school. With the help of Vivanco, Pope Francis, 82, can be seen in a video clip (below) adding to the last line of code:

setScreen(“por la paz”);

The app’s screen then changed to show the text on a commemorative plaque, bearing the statement: “Computer science empowers young people to create peace in their communities. Everyone should learn how to harness technology, to use their creative power for peace.”

Partovi called the engagement with the Pope a personal project, and not one that is formally associated with Code,org, the non-profit he helped start six years ago with a goal of teaching computer science to every child in America. But Partovi added that Code.org has entered a partnership with Scholas Occurrentes to work together to introduce students to computer science with a focus on technology for good and world peace.

“In the 21st century, computer science is a fundamental subject that all students should learn,” Partovi said during the meeting. “Schools should teach computer science to prepare students for the future, empower children with creativity and teach how to harness technology and creativity.”

Back to top button