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Seoul Shines and 11 ICG Proves to Be a Tremendous Success

After 2014’s 10th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Berlin, the hosts of 11 ICG had some ambitious benchmarks to meet for technical strength and international participation. Professor Chungsik Yoo (now IGS President) took up the challenge and chaired the 11 ICG Organizing Committee. In his introduction to the world for 11 ICG back in Berlin, he chose to use a humorous touch. He played PSY’s viral video “Gangnam Style” because 11 ICG was to be held at the COEX Center in Seoul’s vibrant Gangnam district. 

The 11 ICG Organizing Committee’s work behind the scenes, though, was quite serious.

11 ICG Seoul Geosynthetics
IGS President Prof. Chungsik Yoo had a big challenge in making 11 ICG as much of a success as 10 ICG had been four years before in Berlin. Seoul and the COEX Center certainly proved to be an exceptional site for the conference and exhibition. The 11 ICG Organizing Committee was deservedly lauded for the event’s success.

The committee held an astonishing number of in-person meetings: 60. They sent representatives to major events around the world to promote 11 ICG. They invested in significant overseas digital and print promotions. The results of that dedication and years of planning was on full display 16 – 21 September 2018 in Seoul.

To say the least, the Korean Geosynthetics Society (KGSS) and IGS Korea produced a wildly successful conference and exhibition. Importantly, the conference was truly global in its scope.

The numbers alone tell a compelling, international story for the geosynthetics field:

  • 1239 participants
  • 451 presentations
  • 89 exhibitors (114 booths)
  • 66 countries represented in the attendees list
  • 42 countries represented in the presenters list
  • 23 countries represented in the exhibit hall
11 ICG Seoul Geosynthetics
Dr. Nathalie Touze-Foltz delivered a magnificent and truly unique Giroud Lecture, highlighting UN Development Goals, climate change, and philosophy while emphasizing what we can do in geotechnical engineering to change the world for the better.

The invited lectures further underscore the range of international perspectives:

  • Giroud Lecture – Nathalie Touze-Foltz (France)
  • Welcome Lecture – Eun-Chul Shin (Korea)
  • Keynote #1 – R. Kerry Rowe (Canada)
  • Keynote #2 – Martin Ziegler (Germany)
  • Keynote #3 – Jiro Kuwano (Japan)
  • Keynote #4 – Jorge Zornberg (USA)
  • Keynote #5 – Neil Dixon (United Kingdom)

The subsequent technical sessions were very well attended, with numerous sessions, such as the IGS Technical Committee on Barriers, drawing more than 100 attendees. 

The dialogue generated between speakers and audience members in these sessions was particularly satisfying, not only because it showed an engaged geotechnical community but because of the conference theme: “Geosynthetics: Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development.”

11 ICG Seoul Geosynthetics
More than 1200 participated in the conference.

From Dr. Touze-Foltz’s inspiring Giroud Lecture (“Healing the World: A Geosynthetics Solution”) through the event’s closing ceremony, presenters, attendees, and exhibitors framed their engineering work in the context of larger global challenges: disaster mitigation and response, climate change, environmental threats from human activity, and much more. They presented new ideas, exemplary project strategies, and research that called for more participants and questions. The exhibit hall showed that innovation is on-going throughout the world on the materials engineering side.

All in all, the International Geosynthetics Society has much to be proud of regarding 11 ICG. The hosts and host city for 12 ICG now have the welcomed challenge to deliver a conference and exhibition that continues to build upon the rich ICG tradition. The Italian Chapter of IGS, Organizing Committee Chair Prof. Nicola Moraci, and the City of Rome are now on the clock. We look forward to Rome 2022 and 12 ICG!


During the Closing Ceremony of 11 ICG, the new IGS Officers were announced:

  • President: Chungsik Yoo (Korea)
  • Vice President: Nathalie Touze-Foltz (France)
  • Treasurer: Ian Frasier (United Kingdom)
  • Secretary: Edoardo Zannoni (South Africa)
  • Immediate Past President: Russell Jones (United Kingdom)
The new IGS Officers and Council

The IGS Council now includes:

Dimiter Alexiew (Germany)
Sam Allen (USA)
Augusto Alza (Peru) +
Gerhard Bräu (Germany) *
Laura Carbone (Italy) *
Jacques Cote (Canada)
Francesco Fontana (Italy)
Erol Guler (Turkey)
Jie Han (USA)
Chiwan Hsieh (Taiwan) +
Warren Hornsey (Australia) +
Takeshi Katsumi (Japan)
Jacek Kawalec (Poland) *
Preston Kendall (Australia)
Hong Kwan (Hogan) Kim (Korea)
Junichi Koseki (Japan)
Flavio Montez (Brazil) +
Boyd Ramsey (China)
Pietro Rimoldi (Italy)
M. Venkataraman (India) *
Kent von Maubeuge (Germany)
Chao Xu (China) +
Martin Ziegler (Germany)

+ Denotes a co-opted member
Denotes an invited member

IGS Secretariat Manager: Terry Ann Paulo

For IGS Council contact information please use the IGS Directory or contact the Secretariat Manager at:

Chris Kelsey is the content creation specialist for Geosynthetica, which is proud to be an IGS Corporate Member.