By the end of this month, I will have begun a week-long visit to the UK and found myself among friendly Londoners and Mancunians. The Presidential Visit to the UK is a time-honoured institutional tradition, no doubt already familiar to our more seasoned members. Even so, I would like to spend some time sharing with you why this visit means as much to me as it does, and in what way it is central to my aspirations as your President.
This brings me a little further back in time, to the ordeals that we Hongkongers had gone through in September. Scenes from those troubled days, in which extreme weather, rainstorms, and landslides put many of us in a tough spot, are still fresh in my memory. In the expert Q&A sessions that we held in this crisis’s wake, we came face to face with questions about how best to safeguard citizens against similar climate risks in the future. One of the answers that we gave, which deserves highlight, was the development of climate-resilient infrastructure.
This seemed like a digression, but it’s not: In the second day (31 Oct) of the UK visit, there will be an International Conference featuring speakers from both the HKIE and its sister institutions. It is no coincidence, moreover, that the conference will have “Climate-resilient Infrastructure Development” as its theme. The truth is, long before last month’s weather disturbances, we were already wrestling with the question of what sustainability solutions engineers could bring to bear on our global climate crisis. By bringing together a host of international experts to express their views on a worthy solution, this conference will put our own thoughts into proper perspective.
Besides the conference, there will be the usual visits—both technical and institutional—and cocktail receptions, which will be scattered evenly over the course of the week. When I said “usual”, I by no means meant “unimportant”. On the contrary, these activities will bring us once again into direct contact with our fellow engineering practitioners abroad and fill us in on their latest ventures. Not to mention the chance thus afforded us to present them with the many advantages of coming to work with us in Hong Kong.
When I am back from the visit, I will surely have more to say on what I have learnt from the UK experience. Meanwhile, stay posted for further updates about the visit on our social media channels. So, until next time.
Ir Dr Barry LEE Chi-hong