Eng. Suran Fernando
Reinforcing the Relationship with Membership and Public
Dear Members & Readers,
IESL is the apex body of engineering in Sri Lanka. Its responsibility is twofold, one towards its members and the other towards the nation. A proper balance between these two aspects is essential to serve each party properly.
With the synergy created when IESL and its membership work together, it is possible to do the impossible. Proper communication to the members about IESL activities is vital to have a healthy relationship with the members. The activities taking place at the IESL Headquarters, Provincial Chapters, District Centers, Overseas Chapters, and University Chapters are not known to many engineers. We at SLEN are making efforts to bridge that communication gap as much as we can. Further, the recent email message from President’s desk to IESL members helped the members to understand the IESL involvements related to member services as well as at national level engagements.
Engineers essentially are different kinds of social beings. The relationships that engineers maintain with society are relatively weak compared to those of some other professional groups. Being technocrats who always deal with the complexities of sciences and technologies, engineers will knowingly or unknowingly lose their human touch sometimes. Therefore, rather than waiting for the engineers to come to the IESL, instead, IESL should proactively reach the engineers in different parts of the island. Then only IESL can get a real understanding of the heartbeat of the engineers all around. For the first time in the IESL history, this year the President and the Council decided to have the Provincial Chapter meeting outside the Colombo headquarters, and the meeting held at Kurunegala was a great success. These kinds of activities must be promoted to break the Colombo-centered activities and encourage the members in different parts of the country to feel that IESL is their organization.
The second aspect, the responsibility towards the nation is also a vital consideration. The involvement of IESL in national-level policy and welfare activities has been highly recognized by others. The most recent involvement of IESL on the UDA regulations, National Transport Policy, SLIA act, Colombo port East terminal are some of the national-level volunteer contributions of IESL. The engagement of IESL in the battle against Covid-19 has been a remarkable contribution at the national level. The ‘Talk to School’ programs for students at remote schools by the Young Member Section (YMS) of IESL are to be appreciated. The recent “Drive Smart - Save Lives” program by the Civil Engineering Sectional Committee also enlightened the public on road safety. Giving due publicity to these activities is similarly important.
IESL had its 114th Annual Sessions last week. While giving due prominence to the traditions of IESL, this time IESL tried something different too. This ceremony solely being an internal event of the institution, this time IESL has intentionally gone to the public media using this opportunity. I am sure you might have noticed at least some of the news articles, interviews, announcements, TV interviews, etc. published last week about the IESL in which the President and President-Elect featured. This kind of programmes that link IESL with the public should be continued. Sometimes doing work alone does not work but one must let the others know about it.
It is clear that IESL is undergoing a gradual transformation over the years. However, now it’s time to raise the pace of linking the membership and public with IESL.
Wish you all the best!
Eng. Suran Fernando