IET EMEA Community Volunteer Conference and Present Around the World Competition, 2017

IET EMEA Community Volunteer Conference and Present Around the World Competition, 2017

The annual Present Around the World (PATW) competition and the EMEA Community Volunteer Conference (CVC), of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), have been recently hosted in Dubai. This year’s events have been attended by Mr Nathaniel Barbara, who competed during the PATW region final competition, and Dr Ing. Stefania Cristina, who represented the local Malta Group of Professional Engineering Institutions (MGPEI) during the CVC.

IET members from various local networks across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) flew into Dubai to spend two days of idea sharing, learning, networking and socialising. Over the two days, several delegates shared the experiences and achievements of their local networks. Challenges, workshops and training sessions were also held, which engaged the attendees on topics such as design thinking, negotiation skills and crisis management.

Dr Cristina delivered a presentation on the activities and achievements of the MGPEI and on the strengths of working as a joint group, which brings together members of the IET together with members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). She received positive feedback from many of the delegates who were impressed by the amount of events organised by the MGPEI, and the effort that members of the committee put into the organisation of their events. She was also approached by delegates from neighbouring local networks who were interested in finding effective ways of collaborating with the MGPEI. She notes that, “The conference was a good opportunity to learn about the initiatives of the IET and other local networks, and to develop new contacts with other volunteers across the EMEA region. There was a positive sense of community as the delegates worked together on challenges, shared their stories or simply had a chat over dinner.”

This year’s CVC was preceded by the PATW regional final competition, which was also attended by several of the CVC delegates who arrived a day earlier specifically for this event. Mr Nathaniel Barbara, an M.Sc. student with the Department of Systems and Control Engineering at the University of Malta, was the local ambassador competing during the PATW. He delivered a presentation on his research work that investigates the use of electrooculography, an electrode-based eye movement measurement technique, in order to control a virtual speller in real-time using the eye movements. Mr Barbara competed with another 19 participants from the EMEA region; the highest number of PATW participants so far. The quality of the delivered presentations was high, giving the judges a hard time to decide on the winners.

Mr Barbara explains the importance of participating in events such as the PATW competition, “As a participant in this year’s PATW regional final competition, I describe this as being not only a sterling opportunity to demonstrate your presentation skills and present an engineering or technological innovation to others, but also an excellent occasion to compete against other fellow participants from around the world, presenting new exciting technologies and ideas. Besides, this competition also allows one to meet different people from a number of different countries from whom new presentation skills and delivery techniques could be learned. In a few words, it is definitely an opportunity not to be missed and one that I highly recommend to other young professionals!”

The MGPEI organises a host of events that are open to the general public, including the local PATW competition that is held annually around mid-February. We invite interested individuals to contact us on, or visit for further information on how to join the MGPEI, attend to and participate in our events, or to keep abreast of our activities.


Mr Nathaniel Barbara presenting his work on the use of electrooculography to control a virtual speller in real-time.


Left to right: Ms Janice Man (Barcelona Local Network), Dr Stefania Cristina (Malta Local Network), Mr Robert Allen (IET EMEA Communities Committee), Mr Nouman Abid Chuhan (Islamabad Local Network)


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