Tourist's comment defines UNITECH's successful General Assembly Week in Dublin
22 Sep 2015 in The Network by David Ward
The UNITECH International Society held its annual General Assembly in Trinity College Dublin at the beginning of September and it proved to be another successful gathering of members of the UNITECH Network.
The Student Group 2015/16 began their UNITECH Programme year with an intense and energetic Start Up Week during which they formed a tight, mutually supportive group, working with an excellent team of coaches to develop their capabilities in, and sensitivities to, dealing with the unknown.
The Student Group 2014/15 returned from their academic exchanges and their internships to complete their UNITEC Programme year. Their End of Year Module was a mix of sharing stories of their experiences during the year and reflecting on their own development with the support of the coaching team.
In the middle of the week the Corporate and Academic Partners joined us and the structured interactions began. The Ideas Fair saw lively discussion as the Student Group 2014/15 presented some evocative thoughts and positions regarding the world and its engineering business to the Corporate and Academic Partners. Following this the roles were reversed as the Corporate and Academic Partners and the UAA presented their own organisations perspectives in the Stakeholders Fair.
A new event this year - the UNITECH Challenge - brought the whole Network together to discuss the future of education and development for engineers. After input from a mix of speakers from Corporate and Academic Partners and the UNITECH Alumni Association a panel drew their conclusions and shared them with the audience. A live Twitter feed during the event enabled the audience to participate through comments.
The General Assembly Meeting saw the election of several new members to the UNITECH Board, including a new president, Prof. Robert Allison of Loughborough University. Prof Karin Markides, the outgoing president, was thanked publicly for her four years of support and contribution.
Later that day 26 UNITECH Programme Participants graduated from the UNITECH Programme and were made Fellows of the UNITECH International Society, at a ceremony in the impressive Public Theatre of Trinity College Dublin. This was followed by a Reception supported financially by UNITECH Corporate Partner Boston Scientific and then a Celebration Dinner hosted by Trinity College Dublin.
All the events were well attended and received, and were enjoyed by the UNITECH participants, and there has been plenty of positive feedback.
One powerful piece of feedback, however, came from an unusual source. The campus at Trinity College Dublin is very historic, has beautiful architecture, contains the world-famous Book of Kells dating from ca. AD 800. The campus is located in the very heart of Dublin. It attracts a multitude of tourist who wander freely around the campus. One group of tourists strayed into the space where UNITECH was running its Ideas Fair. One tourist, bewildered by the topics displayed on the flipcharts, and the intense discussions between students and corporate and academic people, asked "What's going on here?”. Anna Strandberg, one of the students who had begun her UNITECH Programme Year only a few days earlier, explained the specific event and took time to explain a little about UNITECH in general. "Wow!” said the tourist, "Looks to me like you're getting ready to change the world!"
Anna included this anecdote in her report as the newly elected Student Representative for Student Group 2015/16 to the General Assembly Meeting the next day. The tourist’s observation was seen as an extraordinary, independent observation of the strength and potential of the UNITECH Network. It serves well as an encouragement to the various initiatives that will develop within UNITERCH Vision 2020 over the next months as we set out to increase the impact that UNITECH can have, internally within our own Network and externally where we can harness our capabilities and resources to "change the world".