April 6: Dr. Azzam Alwash, Engineering in Iraq's Garden of Eden
The story of the marshes of southern Iraq is the story of civilization. It is the birthplace of Abraham, the written word, the wheel, and irrigated agriculture. For millennia, the natural pulse of the floods was the drum beat of the symphony of biodiversity of the marshes. Rendered dried by the former regime, the marshes have since been revived, yet the loss of the flood pulse has caused the biodiversity of the area to change. In the first lecture of a two part series, Dr. Alwash will describe the Iraqi marshlands, their history, and their process of restoration on Tuesday, April 6th at 7pm PST. In a second lecture on Tuesday, April 13th at 7pm PST, he will describe the challenges that face our marshes and habitats and will share engineering solutions that can build sustainable economies - if there is political will! RSVP to the event here. About Dr. Alwash The “Savior of Iraq’s Garden of Eden,” Dr. Azzam Alwash is an internationally recognized environmental advocate. Raised around the Mesopotamian marshlands of southern Iraq, Dr. Alwash immigrated to Orange County, where he earned a BS in Civil Engineering at CSU Fullerton and a PhD in Civil Engineering from USC. After practicing for 20 years in OC, Dr. Alwash returned to the marshlands of his childhood, which was drained by the regime of Saddam Hussein to deprive his opposition of cover. In 2004, Dr. Alwash founded the nonprofit Nature Iraq to advocate for the environment. Dr. Alwash’s hydrologic restoration plan was ultimately fruitful, earning him the Goldman Environmental Prize, the “Green Oscar'' award, in 2013. He is currently working with Nature Iraq and the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani to advance peace in the Middle East through water sustainability cooperation. Selected Work: Azzam Alwash: 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner, Iraq The Savior Of Iraq's Garden Of Eden Says He Knows How To Stop The Next Big War Iraq’s Climate Crisis Requires Bold Cooperation
January 21: Professor Darshan Karwat, "Advancing Environmental Protection, Social Justice & Peace-An Activist Engineering Workshop"
On January 21st, AAEES at UCI and ASCE UCI hosted an interactive workshop for Dr. Darshan Karwat of Arizona State University to describe ways in which engineers across the U.S. are centering ideals of environmental protection, social justice & peace. He was able to spark the discussion on recognizing inequity and injustice, and strategize with UCI students to get them involved in the activist engineering movement further. Playback: YouTube About Professor Karwat: Dr. Darshan Karwat is an engineering professor at Arizona State University who runs re-Engineered, an interdisciplinary group that embeds peace, social justice, and environmental protection in engineering. The collective’s work is highlighted by the creation of “Activist Engineering,” a praxis that empowers engineers to advance values of equity and justice through their work. In 2019, Dr. Karwat initiated the Constellation Prize, which elevates the work of engineers who promote social justice, human rights, and peace. Before his current teaching position, Dr. Karwat utilized his background in aerospace engineering and sustainability ethics at the EPA, working on climate change resilience and low-cost air pollution sensors, and the Department of Energy, helping design and run the Wave Energy Prize.
January 12: Professor James Moore & Cerianne Robertson, "Putting Community First, A Critical Forecast of the 2028 LA Olympics"
On January 12th, in collaboration with ASCE UCLA, Professor James Moore of USC and Cerianne Robertson from NOlympics LA, spoke to us on the upcoming 2028 LA Olympics and the potential implications of this investment.
Professor James Moore, USC Civil Engineering Dr. James Moore is a transportation engineering and urban planning professor at USC who focuses on the engineering economic aspects of transportation and land-use systems. In 1996, Dr. Moore’s analysis of cuts to LA Metro’s bus service helped the LA Bus Riders Union and NAACP make their case in federal court that rail expansion disproportionately hurt low-income Angelenos. In 2019, Moore co-published an extensive critique of LA Metro’s “28 x ‘28” plan to complete 28 major transportation construction projects prior to the beginning of the 2028 LA Summer Olympics. Despite the initiative’s $26 billion price tag, he found that funding rail while cutting bus service means that deadlines and needs will likely not be met, overall ridership will decline, and that the most vulnerable Angelenos, those from low-income and disadvantaged groups, will suffer most from the loss of transit mobility. Selected Work:
Cerianne Robertson, NOlympics LA Cerianne Robertson is a Communications PhD student at USC and an organizer with the grassroots organization NOlympics LA. Cerianne researches the media narratives, discourses, and practices that sustain power relations, as well as the opportunities available to disrupt and change them. Cerianne previously worked as the Editor and Media Monitoring Coordinator for RioOnWatch.org, a Rio de Janeiro-based media platform that emerged to amplify favela resident perspectives and monitor urban transformations in the build-up to the 2016 Olympics. Highlighting ongoing issues of transportation equity, displacement, and inequality, she has documented the transnational Anti-Olympics movement for the past 6 years. Selected Work:
October 21: Professor Joseph DiMento, "Engineering, Transportation, and Social Justice"
UCI Law and Urban Planning Professor Joseph DiMento gave us some great insight on how engineers must reckon and atone for infrastructure's role in racial injustice out of personal and professional responsibility. If you missed it, check out the playback below!
October 9: Tamika Butler, "Making Equity Actionable"
Transportation justice advocate Tamika Butler delivered an incredible talk relating the urgency of liberating the built environment. We encourage you to consider the existential question she poses to each of us: how will we be advancing equity in our future engineering career?