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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will host the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals May 23-29.

Destination ImagiNation is one of the world’s largest youth-centered, creative problem solving programs.

The event will bring more than 15,000 participants and their family and friends from all over the world to Knoxville and the UT campus. “We are breaking all attendance records this year,” said Robert Gibbs, director of UT Conferences.

About 840 teams of up to seven members, from kindergarten through college-age, will compete at Thompson Boling Arena and other sites on campus, as well as the Knoxville Civic Coliseum and the convention center.

“This conference is a partnership between the university and the greater Knoxville community,” said Wendy Drummer, marketing director for the Office of University Outreach and Continuing Education. “It’s about bringing everyone together and showing Knoxville’s hospitality,” she said.

The competitions include designing vehicles that race around triangular tracks, inventing new products, staging theatrical events, studying modes of transportation, and building bridges from lightweight wood and glue that can hold hundreds of pounds of weight.

The Global Finals are an invitation-only event with participants qualifying at the affiliate level in April. In order to qualify, teams participated in Central Team Challenges that involve technical, structural and theatrical projects. “Teams also participated in Instant Challenges which made them think on their feet,” said Gibbs.

This is the eighth year UT has hosted the conference.

Destination ImagiNation is a non-profit corporation supported by affiliates throughout the world. For more information, visit www.destinationimagination.org. Media credentials for event venues are available by contacting Lisa Lilienthal at 404-661-3679 or lisalilienthal@earthlink.net.