The Engineering, Social Justice, and Sustainable Community Development Workshop was held on October 2–3, 2008. The link above will take you to the agenda with individual presentations and resources. The completed workshop report is also available from the National Academies Press.
The focus for this meeting began with questions about the potential for conflict that can arise among the various positive goals -- of humanitarian welfare and social and environmental justice -– in contexts of poverty and crisis, where engineers and organizations in which they are employed and volunteer can be found. This potential and the recognition that the field of engineering ethics may not have recognized or addressed it, gave rise to the agenda for this two-day meeting.
Engineering addresses problems and opportunities of great importance to the world's poor and underserved populations and nations, and many individual engineers as well as engineering groups are responsive to humanitarian crises and problems of social and environmental justice.
This is the first in a series of biennial workshops planned by CEES on the theme of engineering ethics and engineering leadership. This workshop was inspired by members of the CEES Advisory Group (CEES-AG), who raised questions about conflicting positive goals for engineering projects in impoverished areas and areas in crisis. These conflicts arise domestically as well as in international arenas. CEES-AG noted that engineers and ethicists had not examined or discussed the difficulties such conflicts could pose for successful project completion. These goals of project sponsors and participants, which are often implicit, include protecting human welfare, ensuring social justice, and striving for environmental sustainability alongside the more often explicit goal of economic development or progress.
The workshop was co-sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics with support from the National Science Foundation and NAE member Harry E. Bovay Jr., the underwriter of activities of the CEES.