May 1, 2012


AAWRE Admissions Committee member, Dr. Robert Kersten, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, who is Former Dean and Professor Emeritus of University of Central Florida recently participated in the 2012 Pan American Convention of Engineering UPADI in Havana, Cuba. The conference lasted from April 9-14 and leaders of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) were present during conference. ASCE 2012 President Andy Herrmann, P.E., SECB, F.ASCE and ASCE Executive Director Patrick Natale, P.E., F.ASCE were on hand to participate in 2012 UPADI.

This year’s UPADI Conference keyed on four key technical sessions- Session I Regional Engineering Education Initiatives Focusing on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Job Mobility; Session II Engineering for the Americas; Session III The Future of Engineering Education; Session IV Development of an Action Agenda for the Future of Engineering Education in the Americas. Dr. Kersten chaired the Session I Regional Engineering Education Initiatives Focusing on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Job Mobility.

The National Union of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba (UNAICC) and the Pan American Union of Engineering (UPADI) participated in the Pan American Convention of Engineering XXXIII UPADI 2012 organize from 9 to 13 April at the Palace Havana Convention. Associated with this important event was the Ninth FECONS Construction Fair 2012, an opportunity to meet promotion and marketing of products and engineering technologies.

Cuba hosted two Pan American Convention of Engineers, the first in 1951 and the twentieth in 1988, both became favorable scenarios for exchange among engineering professionals in the region and aided the strengthening of the Pan American Partners engineering.

Professor Kersten’s statement:

“The thirty-third biennial convention of the Union PanAmericana de Asociaciones de Ingenieria (UPADI XXXIII) met this year in Havana, CUBA. The meeting rotates around the continent…last year it was in Rio de Janeiro, next year it will be in Medellin, Colombia.

The various committees reported to the Board of Direction and hosted various Symposia and Congresses, including a major one on Engineering Education, hosted by the U.S. Task Force sponsored by NSPE, ASCE, and ASME. The principal theme was the promotion of the Engineering for the Americas Initiative (EftA). Most of the nations of the Americas realize the importance of science and engineering to their economic and social development. Hopefully all the nations of the continent can engage in this activity and form a strong partnership.

The U.S. Delegation numbered 17, including the President and Executive Director of ASCE. Among the highlights was a briefing of the delegation by the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. It is very clear that the Cuban Government has only begun move to a more democratic society. For example, the U.S. group enjoyed several dinners at the “parradores” establishments. (Privately run restaurants, usually in privately held homes.) Certainly an example of free enterprise taking root.”

Dr. Robert D. Kersten was honored with the Premio de Ensenanza de Ingenieria “Vector de Oro,” i.e. the Pan American Golden Vector Award granted every two years to several engineering faculty members from throughout the continent. Dr. Kersten is the former Dean of Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Other honorees were Dr. Irma Acosta of Honduras and Dr. Rodrigo Orozco Saborio of Costa Rica.

The Pan-American Federation of Engineering Associations is the organization that promotes the union of the engineering associations of the Pan-American region with the mission of actively contributing to the economic and social development of the peoples in areas related to the engineering professions. UPADI has 27 member countries and 30 member organizations in the Americas, plus Spain, that acts as an observer. Its Headquarters have been in San Jose, Costa Rica, since January 2009, where it will remain until December 2012.

UPADI's mission is to lead the development of Pan-American engineering in response to criteria of environmental sustainability, social development, economic growth, and technological transfer based on the best practices in science, thus becoming the meeting point of engineers throughout the continent under the highest concepts of ethics, transparency, gender equity, and professional rigor.

UPADI seeks to become a modern organization that is recognized as the benchmark of the Pan-American engineering by projecting itself on and participating in the discussion of technical, political, social, and environmental issues of interest to all the citizens of the Americas from the perspective of professional engineers and through the creation of rules, discussion forums, business centers, professional and academic development, and professional mobility.

Contact Prof. Kersten