ASCE Hosts Meeting with World Federation of Engineering Organizations Leader

June 28, 2013
WFEO Meeting
Marwan Abdelhamid, president-elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, visited ASCE at its Reston headquarters to discuss areas of cooperation. Front row from left: Henry J. Hatch, Marwan Abdelhamid, Vilas Mujumdar, and J.P. Mohsen. Back row from left: Michael R. Sanio, Russel C. Jones, and Thomas Smith. Photo by: John R. J. Carmin
Marwan Abdelhamid, civil engineer and general secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Engineers, recently visited ASCE headquarters in Reston in his role as president-elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) to discuss areas for greater cooperation and involvement between the 2 organizations.

“There must be about 20 million engineers in the world today and they all admire the participation of ASCE/American civil engineers and the prestige that they bring to whatever meeting they are attending,” said Abdelhamid, noting the active involvement of ASCE members in a number of WFEO committees. “I know from sitting in these committee meetings that the members of other delegations are always waiting to first hear what the opinion of the ASCE representatives is.”

“ASCE member-experts help us to produce a lot of excellent ideas, action plans, and strategies to address important infrastructure and sustainability issues,” he added. “ASCE collaboration with the WFEO is very important to us.”

“We believe there are many opportunities through WFEO to build collaborative relationships with engineering societies across the globe and to advance the engineering profession worldwide,” said Thomas Smith, Esq., ENV SP, CAE, M.ASCE, ASCE’s deputy executive director and general counsel, who welcomed Abdelhamid to ASCE.

Others attending the meeting on June 18 were J.P. Mohsen, Ph.D., M.ASCE, ASCE’s lead representative on WFEO matters; Henry J. Hatch, P.E., D.WRE, NAE, D.NE, Dist.M.ASCE, past chair of ASCE’s International Activities Committee; Vilas Mujumdar, D.P.A., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, WFEO National Member; William E. Kelly, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, member of ASCE’s Committee on Sustainability; William J “Bud” Carroll, P.E., Pres.89.ASCE, past WFEO president; Russel C. Jones, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.ASCE, American Society for Engineering Education representative to the WFEO; Michael R. Sanio, CAE, ENV SP, M.ASCE, ASCE’s director of Sustainability and International Alliances; Carol W. Bowers, P.G., CAE, ASCE’s managing director of Member Communities; and Meggan Maughan-Brown, MPA, CAE, CMP, Aff.M.ASCE, ASCE’s director of International Relations.

Areas of Cooperation and Understanding

“I see collaboration between ASCE and WFEO expanding in the near future as we identify specific objectives and points of collaboration between ASCE and WFEO committees that are parallel and as we get the general membership and specifically members of committees to work together and learn about each other’s goals,” said Mohsen, who is also professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Louisville. “This is especially important right now because there are so many interdisciplinary projects that are very important to both ASCE and WFEO such as sustainability and education; these are the areas that require other engineering collaboration of different disciplines within engineering.”

ASCE leaders shared with Abdelhamid areas of strategic collaboration with the WFEO including education, sustainability, information technology, risk management, anti-corruption, and the development of younger members. They also discussed the global promotion of ASCE technical and educational materials, creating globally recognized professional credentials for engineers, industry and university collaboration, and the development of publications, seminars, and webinar series. Longer-term goals discussed included collaborating on a plan to deal with global issues such as safe water in developing countries.

Realizing that several ASCE committees—the ASCE Education Committee, ASCE Committee on Sustainability, ASCE Global Center of Excellence in Computing, ASCE Council on Disaster Risk Management, ASCE Global Ethics Committee, and ASCE Committee on Younger Members—had corresponding WFEO committees, the 2 organizations also looked to bridge some committee activities.

At the conclusion of the meeting, both Abdelhamid and the ASCE leadership felt there were 4 specific areas of cooperation between ASCE and the WFEO as they move forward—education, sustainable design, global ethics, and risk and disaster management.

“What I heard from ASCE today is that they have a lot of good ideas that will enrich the WFEO,” said Abdelhamid following the meeting. “That ASCE is excited about the WFEO, that they consider the WFEO to be part of a larger family of engineers, and would like to work together with other engineers in the world to help build a more sustainable world.”

“The possibilities of cooperation between our two organizations are great,” concluded Abdelhamid, “but our challenge [as ASCE and WFEO leaders] is to make that happen.”

WFEO President-elect Marwan Abdelhamid

“I am very happy to be within the family of civil engineers here at ASCE,” Abdelhamid told the ASCE leadership upon his arrival at the meeting. “This is my profession, civil engineering is what I received my degree in, and I am very happy to be among all of you.”

A graduate of Belgrade University with a degree in civil engineering, Abdelhamid also presently serves as general secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Engineers. A member of the WFEO for over 36 years, he has served as both vice president and member of its Executive Council. Within the Palestinian Authority government, he has served as technical advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas and former President Yasser Arafat, deputy minister of housing, ambassador to Greece, representative to the Council of Arab Ministers, president of Palestine Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and a consultant on housing policy and strategy. In addition, from 1987 to 1989 he was president of the Federation of Arab Engineers.

“My goal as president-elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations is to hold a World Engineering Forum,” says Abdelhamid, whose term as president will last 2 years. “My idea is to gather together public and private sector decision-makers from all over the world to discuss sustainable development and to implement infrastructure projects in a number of different disciplines, such as water, energy, and transportation. If we succeed, we will help engineers play the role as leaders of infrastructure development strategy in the world.”

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