Professor Bernard Amadei, University of Colorado, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, spoke about “Global Engineering for a Small Planet” and discussed the role of engineers and the skills needed to address unprecedented current and future demands for natural resources, materials, waste disposal, health care, and infrastructure.
Professor Amadei indicated that over the next two decades, almost two billion additional people are expected to populate the earth. Engineers will play a crucial role in helping to address the demands at various scales: from small communities to large urban areas, mostly in the developing world.
Amadei raised a simple question: do today’s engineering graduates possess the skills and tools to address the global problems that our planet and its inhabitants face or will face during the next 20 years? No, and thus, a new epistemology of engineering practice and education is needed. In his lecture, Dr. Amadei addressed the importance of reflective and adaptive practice, system thinking, and social engagement (e.g., Engineers Without Borders) when addressing global problems. As we enter the first half of the 21st century, the engineering profession must embrace a new mission: to contribute to building of a more sustainable, stable, equitable, and above all, peaceful world. Engineers must be more than providers of technical solutions: they must also become peacemakers, social entrepreneurs, and leaders who are able to operate in a multi-cultural world.