Marking a Quarter Century of the ACIEE

This fall, the International Engineering Program once again had the pleasure of hosting the Annual Colloquium on International Engineering Education (ACIEE), virtually, from Nov. 2-3, 2022.

Marking a 25-year milestone in the existence of this yearly intellectual exchange of ideas and best practices, this year’s theme was “Connecting Engineering with the Humanities.” The event brought together engineers, entrepreneurs, language educators, government and industry representatives, students and alumni from around the world for a deep dive into merging engineering education with analytic and critical methods of inquiry derived from an appreciation of human thought, ethics and culture.

Screenshot of first ACIEE keynote by Chintan Vaishnav, moderated by IEP alum and board member Nevan Clancy Hanumara

Both keynote addresses featured international speakers who were able to offer their global perspectives on addressing community needs and impacts on education and economies through integrative innovative collaborations. The first keynote address, by Chintan H. Vaishnav, mission director of India’s Atal Innovation Mission, was on “Innovation for All: Removing Language as a Barrier.” A key part about his presentation was on how the 22 Indian languages can be leveraged as an asset to spur innovation, impacting local communities through start-ups. The second keynote address featured Muslim Muin, an associate professor of ocean engineering at Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology and a URI grad. His presentation, entitled “Autonomy, Economy and Cultural Preservation,” was focused on how the (fishing) cultures and indigenous communities and economies can be preserved in Indonesia through green infrastructure design.

Screenshot of second ACIEE keynote by Muslim Muin, moderated by URI’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Kristin Johnson

Some of the other topics that were discussed during the 25th ACIEE included:

  • How rethinking the architecture of our prisons can lead to a more humane incarceration practice
  • How engaging students in research-oriented, project-based learning experiences in international, intercultural and inter/transdisciplinary teams can lead to increased global competency and to more socially-just research and design practices when addressing global crises and their varying effects on different cultures and societies
  • How making ethics, art, critical thinking, intercultural and inclusive learning a core feature of engineering education can make a difference in educating future leaders who are aware and appreciative of different perspectives

Many of the IEP’s partners pitched in to make this event a reality. This included the participation of several of our board members, alumni and colleagues in URI’s College of Engineering as moderators of presentations, panels and networking tables. Teams of presenters from our partner universities in Braunschweig and Darmstadt participated alongside those from several of our sister institutions across the country. Behind the scenes, a group of staff and students made the online experience a seamless one, for which we could not be more grateful.  

Feedback from the more than 200 participants from around the country and the globe suggested that the event exceeded expectations. They especially enjoyed the fresh approach to the colloquium as well as the synchronous (virtual networking tables) and asynchronous (connections with other attendees through the conference’s app) opportunities that were provided.

This event was funded by the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).