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Watch: Past-President Jorge G. Zornberg Highlights Importance Of IGS Educate the Educators (EtE) Initiative

The IGS’ Educate the Educator (EtE) program was featured during the Geotechnical Engineering Education Conference (GEE2020), organized by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and endorsed by the International Geosynthetics Society. The GEE2020 Conference took place from June 23 to 25. Originally planned as a regular (in-person) conference in Athens, Greece, the current COVID-19 pandemic necessitated restructuring the conference format to online streaming.

IGS Past-President Jorge Zornberg, along with IGS Vice-President Nathalie Touze and former IGS Council Member Ennio Palmeira, prepared a written contribution that describes the program, which involves offering civil engineering professors the tools needed to teach geosynthetics at the undergraduate level. The paper highlights EtE’s key objective of providing early exposure to geosynthetics for all undergraduate students in civil engineering. Finally, the paper stresses the importance of close industry-academy collaboration as well as the highly positive outcomes of the program as documented by feedback compiled from attendees at one of the EtE series organized by IGS-Brazil.

Despite the challenges of conducting an international event, the conference organizers managed to impeccably deliver the technical program using an online format.

View of an ongoing debate in progress during the GEE2020 Conference, which was streamed online from Athens, Greece. IGS Past-President Jorge Zornberg is pictured at the top right of the screen.

Ultimately, the conference organizers demonstrated that the resolve to advance education can overcome enormous constraints such as those posed by unprecedented worldwide difficulties. The conference activities were deftly organized by a committee led by Conference Chairwoman Marina Pantazidou, and included online delivery of presentations, paper discussions and panels. During the conference closing ceremony, Chairwoman Pantazidou highlighted that the success of the academia-industry collaboration achieved by IGS’ EtE program provides a template for geotechnical engineering education initiatives at large. 

Jorge Zornberg’s presentation, as streamed during the conference, offered an overview of IGS’ EtE initiative, provided details of a typical technical program, and clarified the important roles of the different stakeholders involved in the organization of this initiative (the IGS, the IGS Chapter, and local geosynthetics industry). The information conveyed in this video is equally relevant to IGS Chapters that may be considering organizing an EtE program, professors that may be seeking access to geosynthetics educational content, and geosynthetics producers and practitioners that may be interested in becoming involved in this important, worldwide initiative of the IGS. 

To read the conference paper, “Educate the Educators:” An International Initiative on Geosynthetics Education, click here.

The recorded GEE2020 online presentation by IGS Past President, Jorge Zornberg, can be found below and on our YouTube Channel.