Published on October 31st, 2012 | by Editor1
EYE@Malta 2012 – A Well-Deserved Success
By Malcolm Zammit, Secretary General of the University Engineering Students Association
The conference is over, but the experiences will be treasured by each and every one of us. As a team of five, we managed to overcome multiple hurdles during the couple of months in the run-up to the conference, though not without a good dose of perseverance and hard work. This ambitious event has been in the pipeline for two whole years and UESA’s executive board had a major responsibility in seeing it through to completion.
European Young Engineers (EYE) is a networking organization that connects engineers from all over Europe twice a year. This is done through the EYE conferences, events which have been held for the past twenty years. EYE was thrilled by Malta’s bid to host the conference, as we had already organised it very well in 2007.
For 2012, five years later, we were fully committed to producing an even higher quality event, and this meant a packed agenda for our organisation. The EYE conference was the main project, and we began planning as early as possible. Considering the non-profit nature of student organisations, from a financial standpoint this was quite an ambitious project, and funding initially appeared to be a brick wall. Sponsorships from companies ranged from uncommon to rare; however our perseverance was ultimately rewarded and we were able to finance the conference. Another part of the planning process was designing the schedule: we wanted to remain true to the scope of the conferences, namely the fostering of knowledge and networking, however we agreed that a little bit of Maltese culture would not go amiss.
Friday 19th October was a big day for UESA as it was the day the conference kicked off. After a visit to some Maltese industrial facilities, foreign delegates were surprised with a visit to the Lower Barrakka gardens. Glass of wine in hand, they were treated to a short speech session delivered by a range of speakers from the Malta Council of Science and Technology, the Chamber of Engineers and the Malta Group Professional Engineering Institution, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. John Betts. This was followed by an evening walk in Valletta and an exquisite dinner at St. John’s Square.
The workshops are usually a very important aspect of the conference and these were delivered on Saturday morning. The theme was ‘Overcoming Limitations’ and session topics included the sustainable use of water, the advancements in biomedical engineering such as in EEG analysis, robotics and machine intelligence, as well as a workshop conducted by foreign participants on sustainable energy in Europe. A high level of interest and interactivity was generated by the workshops, which received many positive comments.
In the evening, a gala event was held in Mdina. This event is a crucial part of these conferences and we are pleased to say we seem to have succeeded in impressing our guests. The conference came to a close on Sunday, and an emotional ceremony was held to mark the end of this enjoyable experience.
Looking back, it is always tempting to say that eighteen months of hard work may not have been worth a three day event. However, it truly was a great experience, worth all the time and energy. The general feedback was that we have set a new standard for the quality of EYE conferences. This event shows a huge step forward for UESA, and has left us with a new mission: to take and even more pro-active role in the student community.