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Some of the highlights of Engineers without Borders 2009 conference included presentations from General Peter Cosgrove, ABC foreign Correspondent Eric Campbell, Evan Thornley from Better Place Australia, comedian Dave Thornton and EWB’s returned volunteers and community partners from our programs both in the Asia Pacific region and Indigenous Australia.

As well as some truly inspirational speakers, the conference included hands-on workshops, an appropriate technology exhibition showcasing cutting-edge technology in sustainable design, a lively debate and several panel sessions. Split into three themed days – past, present and future of sustainable community development – delegates deliberated over topics such as climate change, the future of developing communities, social enterprise, global trade, business vs non-profit and EWB’s Indigenous Australia strategy.

Delegates were also treated to organic, locally sourced, non-GM, vegetarian food throughout the conference, as well as some great social events including lawn bowls and a fabulous conference after-party at the Mint with local band ‘The Shivering Timbers!’. Our pre-conference days were also a big hit this year with tours covering permaculture, renewable energy, sustainable communities, eco-buildings, and water and sanitation. The tours were a new addition to this year’s conference and based on their success we hope to continue them.

Finally, to those new to the conference: welcome to the EWB community and thank you so much for making our conference amazing. We are already thinking about our next conference, and look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you and Merry Christmas, Nathalie and the EWB team!

Thanks also for your great feedback!…..

“Just wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks for your hard work in putting together the EWB Conference. This was my first, and I had an excellent time and thought the whole event was well coordinated with a very interesting mix of speakers and events.”

“Just a short note to say thank you for the invite to the conference. Was both inspirational and humbling.”

“Congratulations on a fantastic conference! I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it and meeting so many passionate and inspiring people. Great work.”

“Thanks for organising the tour and the conference, we really enjoyed the whole thing and got lots out of it.”

Some things we might do differently next year….

  • More streamlined payment system
  • Better conference website that is integrated into the new EWB website
  • Focus groups and more interactive sessions
  • More on local projects
  • More returned volunteers and EWB local and overseas projects, and more ways to get involved!
  • Barack Obama as our MC (very very subject to availability)

Things you loved that we will have again!…

  • Great food!
  • Indigenous-focused sessions
  • Amazing keynotes
  • A ‘lighter’ keynote
  • Industry and professionals speaking openly
  • Development and it’s relationship to private enterprise
  • Networking and socializing opportunities

Here were some of your ideas for next year…

  • Speed mingling
  • A non-gineer workshop for those that are spatially challenged
  • Instant online collaboration and feedback
  • A movie night
  • Rotating sessions
  • Activities during breaks
  • Video link to volunteers in the field

Some of your speaker suggestions…

  • Jared Diamond
  • David Suzuki
  • God
  • Al Gore
  • Jeffrey Sachs
  • Helen Caldicott
  • Tim Costello

If you have any further suggestions for Engineers without Borders Conferences please send them to Nathalie at n.cattaneo@ewb.org.au.