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Quiz, Cruise And More For Young Members At GeoAfrica4

IGS Young Members cruised down the Nile and did battle in a geosynthetics quiz during the 4th African Regional Conference on Geosynthetics.

The social events were organized as part of the flagship conference, this time hosted by IGS Egypt from February 20-23, in Cairo, Egypt.

A two-hour Nile river cruise and dinner gave participants a chance to mingle and network with young counterparts from around the world before they heard from members of the IGS Young Members Committee (YMC) about how they could get more involved with its activities.

Also during the conference, delegates heard the research findings of Ahmed Hamza Mridakh, of the Rabat School of Mines, and Simphiwe Zondo, from engineering firm Zutari. Mr Mridakh, who is also YMC chair for the Africa and Middle East Region, spoke about the vertical drainage of compressible soils under the Moroccan high-speed railway line, while Mr Zondo shared discoveries from the waste slope stability design of a landfill site in Gauteng.

Both young members were later presented with certificates in recognition of their academic achievements.

Young Members also took part in the ‘YMC Geosynthetics Design Challenge’ quiz. Five teams made up of senior and young members battled it out to answer 40 questions testing their knowledge across a range of geosynthetics topics. The winning team received an IGS branded coffee mug.

Mr Mridakh said: “Including myself and colleague Silke Louw, we had 15 participants on the river cruise, four from South Africa, three each from Egypt and France, two from India, and one each from Hungary, Italy and Morocco. It was a really lively event with great food. During the trip Silke and I spoke to members about the YMC, our goals and future activities, and many expressed their interest in getting active with us in the future.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dawie Marx, Kate Lauwrens and Talia Da Silva Burke who devised the design quiz with me.

“Overall, our activities at GeoAfrica4 allowed Young Members to create closer ties with the IGS and conference organizing committee, offered learning opportunities, especially during the quiz, raised greater awareness about the work of the YMC, and provided plenty of fun during such a high level event.”

Mr Mridakh said more Young Member events were scheduled for the upcoming 12th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Rome this September, including a similar quiz and social events. There will also be a Young Member Competition where the top 10 papers by Young Members will be presented.

He added: “Long-term we are also planning a geosynthetics design competition based on real project data, and IGS Morocco also wants to develop its job shadowing program this year as well as host a workshop on the use of geosynthetics for engineering students at the Rabat School of Mines.”

For a round-up of GeoAfrica4, read our conference summary here.


The next GeoAfrica conference, GeoAfrica5, will be held in Gauteng, South Africa, in 2027.

You can also get in touch with the IGS Young Members Committee via this web page.