How do we frame Peace engineering education? A complex, but vital quest.
This paper describes elements and questions of Peace Engineering education as they emerge from the VIII World Engineering Education Forum, X Global Engineering Deans Council, XIV Global Student Forum, held November 2018 in the USA for the first time.
Rather than long presentations by established scholars, we convened pioneers who have spent the last decades educating engineers to work in an engaged, compassionate, competent way with local and global problems of necessity and wellbeing. In the first Peace Engineering conference at Bucknell University (2004), the late Aarne Vesilind brought engineering educators together in a day-long event to ask: “Is the accumulation of technical skills enough for engineers to be effective in practicing peace engineering, or do they need social, political, communication, ethical and legal skills as well?” In the conference Proceedings, Richard Bowen of Wales wrote, “The absence of conflict is a necessary but not sufficient condition for peace. Peace is additionally characterized by relationships between individuals, and social groupings of all sizes, based on honesty, fairness, openness and goodwill. That is, peace requires justice….”. Fifteen years after he initiated a concerted effort to articulate the elements of peace engineering, we will see what it takes to continue the legacy of Aarne Vesilind, celebrate the continuing work of colleague Richard Bowen, and start a movement for peace engineering education.
The Engineering Social Justice and Peace conference initiated by Catalano and Baillie has continued this thinking. Three universities in the U.S. have initiated Peace engineering graduate programs.
The authors presented to the global community thought-provoking questions for the November conference. Sample questions opened the door to areas to explore:
1. The Global Engineer
● How to develop next generation engineers (principled leadership, accountability, curriculum reform, Socratic method in engineering, executive programs, joint and cross disciplinary programs)?
● How to bring Peace Engineering, ethics, employability, policy, mobility (displaced people), social responsibility into the classroom and our daily lives?
2. Societal Problems/Opportunities
• How to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots?
● How to contribute to specific global challenges (food, water, air quality, smart cities, security, food security, climate change, health)?
3. Effective Engagement
● How to address diversity (gender, political, geographical, religious, socio-economic, refugees, reintegration to society)?
● How to embrace personal accountability and hold each other accountable (local, national, global, public, private)?
4. Ecosystem Functions and Processes
● How to manage the impact of global engineering innovations and ventures (social and business innovation and ventures)?
5. Emergent Models
● What do emergent economic models imply as Engineering’s role (Circular Economy, Industry 4.0/5.0)?
We expect this conference to bring us closer to articulation. As papers are reviewed, themes are emerging: “moving beyond conflict”, “globally-minded education”, “engineering for disaster response “, ”vocational sustainability and economic development”, “environmental sustainability “and “community engagement” among them. Ethics is resonating at all levels. This paper will gather and characterize the various categories of peace engineering education and the central questions as they emerge from this global gathering of educators, educational groups and student organizations.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.