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Peace Engineering: A Recipe of Proactive Engagement for the Betterment of Humanity

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Endeavors: Engineering and Liberal Arts

Tagged Divisions

Multidisciplinary Engineering and Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Ashraf Ghaly P.E. Union College

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Ashraf Ghaly is Director of Engineering and Carl B. Jansen Professor of Engineering at Union College, Schenectady, NY. Published over 250 papers, technical notes, and reports. Supervised over 50 research studies. Registered PE in NYS. ASCE Fellow and Member of the Chi-Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society.

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Throughout history, humans roamed the Earth in pursuit of food and water; minimum necessities for living. People had tendency to settle lands where means of survival and thriving existed. Scarcity of favorable land, coupled with population increase, intensified competition for resources and this, oftentimes, flared into conflicts. Violence and war were used to settle such conflicts, and this left behind nothing but misery and destruction. War did not only inflict damage on the defeated party but it was also costly to the triumphant one. Sadly, this scenario has repeated itself untold number of times throughout history and, more regrettably, it is still playing itself to this day in many regions around the world. With this in mind, engineers as well as non-engineers have a role to play to ameliorate living conditions for humans everywhere to reduce the possibility of war and conflict. The question humanity in general and engineers in particular are faced with is how to engineer peace and employ various skills to build a better future for all. The answer to this question starts with an attempt to combat the factors that ultimately lead to conflict. Peace engineering is a branch of study in which engineering and non-engineering students are trained to think critically across many disciplines to use technical solutions involving science and engineering, together with policy, to address societal ills resulting from natural disasters, man-made disasters, irresponsible and non-sustainable consumption of resources, pollution and contamination, and lack of opportunity. This program trains students to pursue practical solutions that proactively promote peace and reduce the potential for disputes in a world plagued with problems that require unconventional thinking to overcome. Students are exposed to innovative approaches toward addressing multidimensional problems in addition to gaining skill in economic, social, environmental, political, ethical, legal, cultural, and historical aspects associated with the effort of building enduring peace. This paper will detail the elements that constitute a peace engineering program. It will use real world examples to show how such a program could alter the way students look at finding solutions that make a difference in people’s lives. The program’s main objective is to inspire students to become agents to advance humanity toward an optimistic and a brighter tomorrow.

Ghaly, A. (2019, June), Peace Engineering: A Recipe of Proactive Engagement for the Betterment of Humanity Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33162

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