Between January 30 and February 1, the ISEE Africa conference was held at the Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi. The conference was a cooperation between BAM, the University of Lagos, the Université de Dschang, the African Engineering Education Association and the University of Nairobi. The conference was funded by the VolkswagenStiftung.
Objectives and driving force
The major objective of the conference was to jointly discuss about how engineers, architects and materials scientists have to be educated for the global and climatic challenges of the future. While engineering education needs to be enhanced all over the world, in Africa this can have the greatest impact for the global climate, as a new generation of conscious engineers can create a great leverage right at the onset of a booming construction market. Technologies of the past, that have been established but are no longer state of the art, can simply be leapfrogged, so that African construction engineering can become a role model for the rest of the world.
This was the driving force for about 100 great personalities to gather in Nairobi. The attendants were coming from 27 different countries, 2/3 from Africa, 1/3 from all other continents. 60% were male, 40% female. The selected attendees were operating at all career levels from 18 to 80 years in all professional fields that can be affiliated to engineering, education, and professional skill development. The atmosphere was family like, and many students attended and mingled with experienced experts at eye level.
Two days of the conference were dedicated to excellent broad overview keynotes with the objective to provide the same information background for all delegates. The keynote topics were focused on the topics:
- Global challenges and future perspectives
- Local solutions for global challenges
- Future skill requirements for global challenges
- International research arena
- Management and entrepreneurship
- African educational peculiarities
- Educational tools and curricula development
- Potentials through higher education and science
After the keynotes gave an excellent common information ground for all delegates, the third day was a workshop day, where delegates discussed in groups of 10-15 persons about the topics:
- Global and local challenges and/or potentials in construction
- Potentials for sustainable construction based on education
- Future skill requirements in civil engineering, architecture and materials
- Global research and education requirements
- African research and education requirements
- Contemporary teaching methods
- Gender issues in STEM education
- Language and communication barriers
The workshop groups’ results were firstly jointly presented and discussed in presentations and a final panel discussion. The conference ended with some conclusions and the urgent will to continue to work on a better education for a better climate and social environment all over the world.
The conference created a lot of energy, a lot of African and international power, creativity and initiatives to make a change. The communication among the delegates was extremely fruitful and promising.
The conference discussions, presentations, and conclusions are implemented in the conference proceedings, which will soon be available for download on this webpage.