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Egyptian Boy Wonder Dazzles Microsoft

While many parents claim that their children are geniuses, Mahmoud Wael really is, and a patriotic one at that. Mahmoud’s father first recognized his son’s prodigious mathematical talents when the three-year-old spontaneously–and correctly–recited the entire multiplication table up to 12 x 12.

Just over a decade later, Mahmoud has reached a much higher summit: at 14, he is now the youngest person in the world qualified to teach the programming language C++. He earned this certification with the support of Microsoft, which sponsored him to complete a series of programming courses after he breezily learned English at the age of seven the American University in Cairo–in order to delve more deeply into theoretical math.

Mahmoud speculates he can learn any language in three months. But when it comes to his allegiances, he remains single-minded. Whatever international doors his abilities open for him in the future, he insists that any benefits that come to him belong solely to Egypt.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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