Dear Colleagues and passionate Friends of Engineering Education,
On the 10th anniversary of the laying of the “foundation stone” of IFEES in Sydney (one year later formalised in Rio de Janeiro), it is a great pleasure and a big honour to welcome all of you to Europe, the cradle of the Renaissance—to a city which made Europe the leading region of the world in culture, arts, science and technology hundreds of years ago.
We are glad to welcome student organisations, teachers, leaders of corporate companies and industries, associations and organisations dealing with different issues of Engineering Education (EE). Many different regions and parts of the world are represented with 61 countries accepting our invitation and contributing to 15 plenary sessions, 76 parallel sessions (workshops, meetings, etc), for more than 200 papers (out of 300 revised submissions).
Engineering Education Societies, student organisations, EE associations and networks, and multi-national companies and industries are gathering together again under the umbrella of a Forum. ‘Forum’ is a Latin word evoking the place in ancient Rome where public expression and debate took place. Our Forum’s ambition is to provide an environment for exchange and development of ideas for future actions—allowing meetings that develop new cooperation that catalyses initiatives with the goal of improving society. The EE community represents a think-tank who shall serve to find solutions for the needs of technology-driven development in present times.
The overall theme of this year’s meeting will be “Engineering Education for a Resilient Society”, and resilience is an important keyword and the main focus for our meeting. Although many other priority issues will be discussed (e.g., quality assurance and accreditation of EE) we anticipate that climate change adaptation, natural disasters, growing population and urbanization, biotechnologies, and water and food crises will be attracting priority attention of all EE stakeholders now and into the future.
Florence learned a drastic lesson in 1966—the year of the Millennium’s most devastating flood. This experience makes Florence a natural place to reflect, improve EE and to give to our future engineers the capabilities to succeed in helping to avoid and better manage such calamities. Despite killing over 100 people and damaging millions of masterpieces and books, many positive initiatives resulted from the experience of the Florence flood—new conservation methods and restoration laboratories were established and a plan of action for future catastrophic devastation took place. Identifying and developing similar initiatives can be put in the hands of the EE community and engineers to lead preventative change and to better our world community and improve overall economic and personal safety.
Increasingly, educators, researchers and industry are also recognizing the importance of developing one’s own personal resilience and the role this can play in helping all individuals to better manage the stresses and tragedies of our modern-day world. Developing the “resilience gene” or competence in graduates and industry leaders is seen as a key to developing solutions for the sometimes catastrophic challenges we all face.
We have consciously worked to encourage colleagues from all continents to attend this Forum and are extremely pleased that many colleagues who have not participated in our previous events will be joining us. We deeply appreciate all of their (your?) efforts and commitment to engage actively in our global community.
We are looking forward to 5 days of exciting meetings, discussions, contributions and distinguished keynote speakers invited, who are experts in their respective fields. In the same way, we are grateful and wish to recognise the great contribution of those corporate partners who make EE possible.
Last but not least, the fantastic commitment of the student organisations should be acknowledged, and their meeting will take place in the days immediately preceding WEEF2015, with conclusions being presented to us.
We look forward to seeing you in Florence!
Rachel Schroeder (AIRBUS GROUP)
Hans J. Hoyer (IFEES) – Co-Chairs