Dubai, UAE, 07 February 2024: Under the patronage and attendance of Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Supreme President of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Medical and Educational Sciences, the 25th edition of the Gulf Engineering Forum and its accompanying exhibition kicked off today, Wednesday, under the theme 'Smart Engineering for Sustainable Future', with the participation of more than 500 participants, to discuss various topics related to future trends in the engineering sector and its role in enhancing the global sustainability system.
The hosting of the event in the UAE coincides with the announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, of the year 2024 as an extension of the 2023 Year of Sustainability, reflecting the UAE's commitment to adopting sustainable practices and innovative solutions to address key issues and challenges in the engineering field.
The event, organized by the UAE Society of Engineers in collaboration with the Gulf Engineering Union, runs until February 8th, attracting prominent government officials, regional and local experts, speakers, decision-makers, and leading professionals and thought leaders in project management from the GCC countries.
In his opening speech, Eng. Abdullah Yousuf Al Ali, President of the UAE Society of Engineers, expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Supreme President of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Medical and Educational Sciences, for his generous patronage and unlimited support for organizing the 25th edition of the Gulf Engineering Forum.
The President of the UAE Society of Engineers also emphasized the importance of the engineering sector and its contribution to improving the quality of life, solving problems, and turning challenges into opportunities. He highlighted the role of engineers and the necessity to develop their skills, knowledge, and creative abilities to keep pace with changes and developments in the engineering world, and to leverage them in serving their communities, countries, and the world.
Eng. Abdullah Yousuf Al Ali said: “Smart engineering utilizes technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous systems, and other modern means to achieve engineering goals efficiently, effectively, economically, and sustainably. In this context, the Gulf Engineering Forum aims to provide a platform for communication, exchange, and collaboration among engineers, experts, researchers, academics, students, and enthusiasts in the Gulf region. It will discuss the latest topics, trends, and developments in various engineering fields, highlighting smart and sustainable engineering achievements and projects in the region.”
Engineer Mohamed Ali Alkhozaae, Secretary General, Gulf Engineering Union said in his speech: “Throughout the years, we, at the Gulf Engineering Union and the General Secretariat, have ensured that our forums serve as platforms for the discussion of diverse topics of importance to our Gulf engineering community, from disaster planning and management to environmental engineering, to our current forum with the theme ‘Smart Engineering for a Sustainable Future’. This forum serves as a dialogue platform to exchange ideas and experiences, contributing to the development of smart and sustainable engineering solutions for the challenges we face. In this forum, we will explore together, through multiple sessions, how to employ smart engineering to enhance sustainable development in various fields such as energy, water, transportation, infrastructure, and industry.”
Alkhozaae added: “We will focus on technological innovations and new ideas that can contribute to achieving sustainable development goals, such as reducing harmful emissions, improving resource efficiency, and promoting environmental sustainability.”
Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum toured the exhibition accompanied by a number of attendees, and they visited various booths of participating entities. They also listened to explanations from their representatives about the latest developments and sustainable practices in the engineering sector.
The agenda of the forum on its first day included a series of dialogue sessions, keynote speeches, presentations, and workshops delivered by industry leaders, elite researchers, specialists, and academics on the topics of Infrastructure and Building Systems and Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. Among the prominent speakers were Eng. Mustafa B. Shehu, President, World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), Dr. Mohamed Al Qasem, Dean of the Dubai Future Academy and Board Member of the Digital School, Engineer Seng Chuan Tan, President-Elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, and Dr. Mohamed Nasaif from the Emirates Health Services Foundation.
Engineer Mustafa B. Shehu, through his presentation titled 'Engineering for a Sustainable Future,' emphasized the urgent need for engineering efforts to address challenges in energy and food security. He highlighted the pivotal role Africa plays in tackling these challenges and stressed the importance of optimizing human and natural resources.
Engineer Seng Chuan Tan delivered a keynote speech titled 'Sustainable Infrastructure,' highlighting the significant risks posed by climate change to global infrastructure. He discussed the increasing demand for investment in infrastructure, especially in Asia, and emphasized the urgent need to find sustainable solutions to address expected emission gaps.
The panel session on '3D Printing' discussed enhancing infrastructure and sustainable construction, the future of 3D printing, sustainable construction applications for future generations, and three-dimensional concrete printing in Dubai in terms of achievements, responsibilities, and future agendas. The session was moderated by Dr. Rashid Alshaali from the UAE Society of Engineers and featured participation from Manfred Wetzel, Zublin Strabag, Marwan Al Janaahi from Dubai Municipality, Basel Khalid Mohammed from the 3DXB Group, and Dr. Umar Asghar from the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
The 'Building System' panel session discussed Building Information Modeling (BIM) as the future of the construction world, post-occupancy evaluation as an option for sustainability in housing projects, and new building materials and methods contributing to sustainability. The session was moderated by Dr. Abdlla Al Zarooni from RIT Dubai and featured contributions from Banan Al Jumaiah from the Eastern Province Municipality - Saudi Arabia, Abdulrahman Aljohani from the Society of Science, Omran, Saudi Arabia, and Marwa Gouda from Dubai Municipality.
In his presentation, Engineer Bader Burshaid, Chairman of Global Project Management Forum and President of the Project Management Institute - Saudi Arabia Chapter, outlined the PMO's pivotal role and emphasized its maturity model's four dimensions: governance, operations, individuals, and technology/data. He also discussed some challenges in the field and the necessity of continuous assessment of project management practices and adoption of innovative technologies to address those challenges and ensure excellence in project execution and improvement in costs, schedules, and quality.
Engineer Yaqoob Al Hindasi from the Ministry of Interior - Oman, shed light on smart cities as drivers of sustainable development, highlighting key technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence providing real-time data for effective management, strategic planning, and proactive problem-solving. He also showcased diverse experiences from Singapore, Barcelona, and Amsterdam, focusing on their priorities in digitization and innovation.
Additionally, the first day included the honoring of GCC Engineering Pioneers, GCC Society of Engineers’ Presidents, winners of the 25th Gulf Engineering Forum awards, along with sponsors and the members of the Higher Committee and the Scientific Committee. The honorees included several prominent figures from various Gulf countries, recognized for their contributions to the engineering field.
The list of honorees included: His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi received the award on behalf of Engineer Tareq Demas Al-Suwaidi, Dr. Osama Taqi Mohamed Al-Baharna from Bahrain, Engineer Hamad Rashid Al Mansour from Kuwait, Engineer Rashid Abdullah Al Atl from Kuwait, Dr. Engineer Tarek Mohammed Ali Al Shawaf, Ibrahim bin Abdullah Al Maliki received the award on behalf of His Excellency Engineer Ali Bin Mohammed Al Khater from Qatar, Engineer Issa Bin Abdullah Al Kubaisi from Qatar, Dr. Abdullah Ismail Al Zarouni from the UAE, and Engineer Maryam Jamaan from Bahrain.
The winners of the Forum's project awards included The Sustainable City - Dubai, which adopts environmentally friendly engineering plans and relies on clean energy production and the expansion of green spaces to produce clean air and create quiet and pollution-free atmospheres in residential areas within the city. The second-place winner was the Tarsheed Smart EV Charging Platform, Qatar, a platform for charging electric vehicles that aims to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, promoting sustainable lifestyles, and playing a pivotal role in enhancing smart charging for electric vehicles, enabling the development of a smart, safe, and organized solution compatible with cloud infrastructure according to Qatari national systems and standards.
The event will be held with Government of Sharjah Directorate of Housing as the Strategic Partner, Dubai Economy and Tourism as a Destination Partner, while Data Flow, Bukhash Real Estate and Engineering Contracting Company have joined as Silver Sponsors. Additionally, Bahrain Society of Engineers, Saudi Council of Engineers, Oman Society of Engineers, Qatar Society of Engineers, Kuwait Society of Engineers are the Supporting Partners for the event.