" . . . . educators and institutes in the US and Canada found that globalization of the early curriculum of engineering education would develop a new kind of engineer, needed, in this evolving world, who can think broadly across disciplines and consider
the human dimensions that are at the heart of every design challenge. Rather than watering down engineering education, the holistic approach empowers engineering programs to become globally competitive, more rigorous, value-added, innovative, and dynamic in their application. It is not the broadening of an engineer’s education that disserves the public, but the present educational system that does not train professionals to think holistically about the true impact of their technological and scientific creations in society."
The presentation proposed a specification for the “Engineer 21”, and diagrammatically illustrated Process and Knowledge Management which are the main tools in applying holistic engineering.
Alan, together with David Harvey, myself and others, had previously hosted "Engineers @ the Heart of Society: Collaborating + Innovating for Our Common Future", on behalf of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE). Professor Paul Jowitt, then President of ICE, was very impressed with that event: "The fact that we are able to come here and argue about matters of utmost importance to the future of the planet, I think it says massive things about the way civil engineering and civil engineers have changed." There was also some energetic debate on Our Destiny between speakers Keith Clarke, Dr. Francis Zwiers, and Professor William Rees.
Towards the end of the session, everyone seems to agree with what Keith Clarke said: "Our job is to anticipate that world and be ready for it, and that's part of trying to ensure that world will in some form arrive. If you wait for the world to get perfect and then want to answer it, you are part of the problem stopping it becoming - it won't be perfect, but - not disastrous. That's why you're professionals. You are a body who are paid to have judgment. . . . . You're people that think about the future. You actually get trained and paid for it. That's what clients pay us for - is to make professional judgment. That's what we should relish, and anticipate what we need to be . . . . "