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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, January 16, 2006

IESL celebrates 100 yrs, concentrates on sustainable technological development

Sunday Observer: 08/01/2006" by M. P. Muttiah

United Kingdom's Cardiff Centre for Astro Biology Director Prof. Chandra Wickremasinghe in his Guest of Honour address at the centenary celebrations of the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) at the BMICH on January 6, said that at the present moment a holistic top-down world view was badly needed, respecting that the planet is a delicately balanced system with its components intimately and inextricably inter-linked.

It would do no good to develop technologically if the technologies so developed would destroy the quality of life for future generations.

He said the responsibility of engineers was to advance technologically fulfilling the aspirations of the present generation to the fullest, but without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Prof. Wickremasinghe said that astronomers were of the opinion that a planet like Earth orbiting other stars and other suns must be exceedingly common. But to think of polluting the planet only to populate another is not a practical option for a few centuries into the future.

The sustainable development is a noble concept, but all nation states and politicians pay only lip service. But a conflict inevitably arises between the unbridled greed of a few rich countries and the collective will of the rest in preserving and protecting the environment, he said.

He said that when he was an undergraduate in Sri Lanka, engineering was taught in three departments and the subjects were confined to construction of buildings, roads and bridges, hydraulic technology, machines and electrical systems.

"Nowadays, the list of disciplines that come under engineering has grown tremendously, encompassing almost every area of human endeavour including chemical engineering, bio technology, space technology etc.

Sri Lankan engineers have successfully adapted and transplanted the most modern technological developments in the Western world to serve the specific needs of this nation.

The engineering profession has to embrace inter-disciplinary skills to meet the global challenges of the this century such as responding to climatic change, providing food, water and sanitation throughout the developing world," he said.

Prof. Wickremasinghe expressed the hope that Sri Lankan engineers would build upon the achievements of the past and devise new strategies of sustainable technological development in the decades to come.

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Former Chairman of the Indian Space Commission Prof. V. R. Rao and several others addressed the gathering.

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