Yacob Astatke | 2016 Recipient

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Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC), have named Dr Yacob Astatke, from Morgan State University in the USA, as the recipient of the 2016 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award for his work in engineering education. The Award ceremony took place during the GEDC and World Engineering Education Forum (WEEF) conference in Seoul, South Korea.

The Award is designed to promote a more diverse engineering workforce globally. It recognises grass roots initiatives and the people behind them which enable students from all backgrounds and profiles to study and succeed in the field of engineering.

Out of a total of 40 candidates from 17 countries, Dr Yacob Astatke was selected as the award recipient for his impressive introduction of technology and training initiatives across universities in Ethiopia to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa. For the past 13 years, he conducted graduate courses, sharing best practice and delivering training. He led the implementation of Mobile Studio Technology and pedagogy in five universities in Ethiopia and has been instrumental in facilitating the donation of equipment and other resources.

In addition to the global visibility which the award offers, Dr. Astatke has received a significant financial contribution to support and develop his work.

Along with two other remarkable finalists, Dr. Astatke presented his project to a distinguished international Jury led by Charles Champion, Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering and Peter Kilpatrick, Chairperson of the GEDC and Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, US.

“At Airbus diversity is in our DNA. Our future success will continue to draw on the diversity of our workforce because innovation, creativity and performance are driven by this diversity.” said Charles Champion. “The achievement of our 2016 award recipient is testimony to their hard work and commitment in this field. We hope that engineering leaders from around the world will be inspired to follow this example, and replicate these initiatives in order to build a more diverse global community of engineers.”

Airbus and the GEDC are united in their belief that both industry and academia need to actively encourage more diverse students to study and pursue a career in engineering. The finalists’ presentations were evaluated by the Jury based on their ability to channel a desire for more diversity in engineering into real, measurable change through an initiative that has the potential to be replicated elsewhere.

 “Our three finalists have taken up the vital challenge of encouraging more young people to become engineers in order to solve some of the biggest challenges we face in the 21st century," said Peter Kilpatrick of the GEDC. “The message is that together, looking to the work of our finalists for inspiration and as great examples for success, the work we do can and will make a difference.”

The 2016 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award Finalists

Yacob Astatke, Interim Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Studies at Morgan State University, USA - selected for his work to improve the delivery of engineering education in Ethiopia through teaching graduate courses, sharing best practice, delivering training and the implementation of the Mobile Studio Technology at 5 universities in Ethiopia.

Dawn Bonfield, Former President of the Women's Engineering Society, United Kingdom - selected for her role in the creation of the National Women in Engineering Day, a UK national awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the exciting career opportunities available to girls in the engineering sector.

Mary Wells, Chair of the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering and Associate Dean, Engineering Outreach at the University of Waterloo, Canada - selected for leading a serires of ONWiE initiatives to uncover the causes of the continued lack of participation of women in engineering, and the development of programs to address these barriers.

The 2016 Evaluation Committee
  • Charles Champion – Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus
  • John Beynon – McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and Chair of the GEDC (2015-2017)
  • Sirin Tekinay, President, Rector of ISIKUN University
  • Professor Qidi Wu, Director at Tsinghua University, Chairperson of the CEEAA, Director of the International Centre for Engineering Education under the Auspices of UNESCO (ICEE) and Director of the Department of Management Sciences of NSFC
  • Professor Soonja Choe, President of Inha University (part of KAL group)