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WFEO Co-Plenary - Preparing the Global Engineer. Engineering Education: Global Development and Professionalism

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2013 ASEE International Forum


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Partner Organization Plenary I

Tagged Topic

Partner Society Plenary

Page Count


Page Numbers

21.69.1 - 21.69.4



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Paper Authors


Marwan T. Abdelhamid World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)

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Eng. Marwan ABDELHAMID is a Civil Engineer graduated from Belgrade University and was on duty as such.
He is the General Secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Engineers (GUPE) in Palestine and President Elect of WFEO.
He has been devoted to the WFEO for more than 36 years as a member of the Executive Council as well as Vice President. He attended all the WFEO General Assemblies and was awarded three times for outstanding services to the WFEO.
He served as President of the Federation of Arab Engineers from 1987 to 1989.
He was involved in several Committees and task forces also as chairman of Standing Committee of Promotion and Creation of Engineering Societies in Developing Countries within WFEO.
He held many positions such as:
• Director of Department in the National Company in Algeria
• Advisor to the Algerian Minister of Housing
• Member of the Council of Arab Ministers representing Palestine
• Permanent representative of Palestine in United Nations Organization for Human Settlements
• Technical Advisor to late President Arafat
• Deputy Minister of Housing in the Palestinian Authority
• Ambassador of Palestine to Greece
• Technical Advisor to President Abbas
• President of Palestine Mortgage & Housing Corporation co. and Consultant in Housing Policy and Strategy.

He is as a multicultural citizen, fluent in English, French, Serbian and Arabic. His interest and passion for Sciences and Engineering have influenced his two children respectively serving as Dr Urologist and Architect.

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Preparing the Global Engineer: Engineering Education: Global Development and ProfessionalismDistinguished Faculty Members, Engineers, Decision-Makers,Ladies and Gentlemen,I am indeed honored to be given the opportunity to participate at the 2013 ASEEInternational Forum and to address such a distinguished group of high-rankingfaculty, professional engineers, industry leaders, planners and key decision-makers,who have gathered here from the various parts of our globe to discuss one of the mostpromising issues "Preparing the Global Engineer," since it has been acknowledgedthat the 21st century is the century of science and technology. Thus, investing inengineering education and technology development offers a real promise for thefuture of mankind.Your Excellencies, Ladies and GentlemenFirst, please allow me to give you a very brief introduction about the WorldFederation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO). The WFEO is an international,non-governmental organization representing the engineering profession worldwide.The WFEO was founded in 1968 by a group of regional engineering organizations,under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganizations (UNESCO) in Paris. WFEO is organized as a respectable and valuablesource of advice and guidance on the policies, interests and concerns that relate toengineering and technology to human and natural environment. Today, the WFEObrings together national engineering organizations from over 90 nations andrepresents 15 million engineers from around the world.Since its founding in 1968, the WFEO has spared no effort in addressing the issue ofengineering education and professionalism, in order to enhance the employability andmobility of engineers and to increase the international competitiveness and quality ofworldwide education of engineering Your Excellencies, Ladies and GentlemenLearning and teaching are human activities involving several bodies with differentbackgrounds, diverse expectations and responsibilities. This is absolutely relevant tothe context of higher engineering education, with stakeholders who are students,researchers, faculty members, corporate and community representatives.Recently, substantial economic, technological and social changes on a global scale,have led to transformation in the engineering profession. The demands on graduatesof engineering now and in the coming decades are different from the demands facedby earlier generations. The challenges which arise from increasing internationality,cross-disciplinary influences on traditional engineering and a changing perception ofthe role of engineers have initiated a worldwide discussion on the adequacy of thecurrent practices in the educational and professional development of engineers.The practice of engineering must meet the highest standards of competence andethical conduct. As some engineering disciplines are becoming increasinglyspecialized, professional practice is generally becoming more diverse under theinfluence of sociology, ecology, economics and politics. As we all know, thatengineers take seriously their obligation to improve constantly, however maintainingthe highest standards in a changing environment can be difficult.Your Excellencies, Ladies and GentlemenThe Bologna Process involves an inter-governmental initiative of more than 45countries in Europe. The aim of this process is to set up throughout Europe a systemof easily comparable degrees and to ensure suitability of accredited programs. Inaddition, Bologna's Process other objectives are: the promotion of the necessaryEuropean dimensions in higher education with regards to curricular development,inter-institutional cooperation, mobility schemes and integrated programs of study,and training and research. The USA Accreditation Board for Engineering Education(ABET) now requires programs to gradate engineers with the ability to function inmultidisciplinary teams and for broad education to understand the impact ofengineering solutions in a global and social context.In fact, engineering education across the world is already broadly similar in manyrespects. Where two distinct types of engineering curricula are offered, one moretheoretically oriented and the other more application oriented. In spite of thisengineering students must be trained in line with the evolution of a more abstract andchanging working environment. Decades of service in one single profession are nolonger the norm. Therefore, students should be given the opportunity to develop otherskills outside their field of study. To become innovators, young graduates shouldposses a range of soft skills as well as interdisciplinary knowledge. This could beencouraged by developing more flexible curricula allowing the students to explorereal potentials.Your Excellencies, Ladies and GentlemenIt has been, generally, acknowledger that students are lacking the skills required inindustry. In the subsequent process, industry stakeholders and representatives fromthe profession were closely involved in the discussion of ways to take EngineeringEducation into the future .Moreover, it is recognized that entrepreneurial skill andattitudes are absolutely needed by everyone. The social, financial and technologicalchanges taking place in the world over the last decade constitute for all the highereducation stakeholders crucial factors for the development of new policies toencourage entrepreneurship and innovation.Thus, education and preparation for entrepreneurship should be encouraged inengineering education programs. This can be achieved by student centered teachingand learning, where students are the main players of their learning. In such anenvironment faculty members in higher engineering education need to become thepromoters of entrepreneurial skills and the facilitators of development of suchlearning experiences.Engineering faculty members can influence thousands of other engineers in a lifetimeof teaching, and thereby affecting their future careers more are than all theirprospective employers. Engineering faculty members can leave their mark on theprofession and society as a whole. This dynamic role involves the responsibility toteach well, to create enthusiasm and respect for the calling of engineering, and in themean time to develop a sense of professionalism in students at all levels.Your Excellencies, Ladies and GentlemenFaculty members should possess an appropriate balance between technicalproficiency and teaching effectiveness. Practical technical experience in non-academic settings is also a valuable asset for potential educators. Effective use ofcommunication skills is a critical qualification for successful teaching. Mobility offaculty members should be actively supported for the acquisition of new skills andpedagogical competencies which are necessary for fulfilling new educational goals.In addition, faculty members should also consider spending at least some sabbaticaltime gaining current, practical experience in private consulting, industry, or otherengineering settings. An alternative method of gaining practical non-academicexperience is to maintain a part-time connection with other groups or companiesoutside the university environment since teaching engineering is considered a form ofprofessional practice.Experienced faculty members should also take it upon themselves to mentor not onlytheir students but also new faculty members. Engineering university staff shouldalways maintain a vital and visible connection to their professional association.Needles to say that, an intimate familiarity with the Code of Ethics can help facultymembers to maintain the highest ethical standards and allow them to act as rolemodels for students. It is important to integrate the Code of Ethics into course work,where appropriate. This will help in to inculcate ethical thinking of the students.Finally, high standards of research are vital component of to the professional lives ofengineering faculty members and graduate students in a university setting.Engineering research advances the state of engineering practice, provides valuablelearning and experience to graduate students and generates needed revenue forteaching institutions. Besides, the traditional-supported research foundations andcouncils, the recent trend toward partnership with industry and government hasprovided additional sources of research funding.In closing, I will be looking forward to receiving the outcome of your deliberations. Inthe meantime, may I wish the organizers and the participants success during thistimely international forum.Thank you

Abdelhamid, M. T. (2013, June), WFEO Co-Plenary - Preparing the Global Engineer. Engineering Education: Global Development and Professionalism Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--17274

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