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International Conference on Technologies for sustainable development held
By Fr. Mario Vaz
Mumbai, Mar. 17. Caring, for youth and environment, is a focus area of the Salesians of Don Bosco worldwide, based on the sound belief that growth must be environmentally sound and widespread to reduce poverty and build collective prosperity for present and future generations. And measures to accomplish it are ongoing at every Don Bosco Institution in India and abroad.

At Don Bosco Kurla, an International Conference ''Technologies for Sustainable Development'' on a significantly large scale was held from 4-6 February, 2015   befitting the 50th Anniversary of the Campus at Kurla and also the Bicentenary of the birth of its founder Don Bosco.  The Conference resulted in the setting up of a research Centre for Social Development on the campus.
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The Conference, in  technical association with IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology, successfully brought together national and international community of experts to present state-of-the-art know-hows, new research results, perspectives of future developments and innovative applications on pertinent topics covering Energy, Agriculture, Water,  Waste Management,  Transportation, Green Skills and Green Habitats relevant to Technologies for Sustainable Development.

There were 4 Plenary Sessions, 19 Technical Sessions in 3 Tracks, 4 invited talks and over 85 oral paper presentations drawn from 242 submissions subsequent to a strict review mechanism that ensured high technical quality. Six authors remotely presented their papers online through video conferencing. All the sessions were well attended and the quality of interaction was also of the highest standards.  

Our esteemed guest from India and abroad included the Fr Godfrey D'Souza, SDB (Provincial, Salesians of Don Bosco, Mumbai),  Dr. Aravind Chinchure (Chair Professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Symbiosis International University Pune), Mr Michael Mager (Senior Lecturer, School of Computer  and Security  Science, Edith Cowan University, Australia), Dr Leisa Armstrong (Executive Board Member Human Resources  and  Organisation, and Director of Labour Relations at GROHE AG, Germany),  and Mr Hans -Jurgen Dorrich (Director, Corporate Coperation of Don Bosco Mondo e.V., Germany).

The Keynote Session at the inauguration was followed by four power packed Plenary talks  delivered with much enthusiasm by our celebrated speakers, Dr. Baylon Fernandes (Professor & HOD, Electrical Engineering, IIT Powai),   Dr. Anil W. Date (Emeritus Fellow & Rahul Bajaj Chair Professor of Dept of Mechanical Enginneering , IIT Mumbai),  Dr. A. B. Pandit (UGC Research Scientist (C), Professor at University Institute of Chemical Technology, university of Mumbai) and Dr. B. Satyanarayana (Scientific  Officer (G), Dept.  Of High Energy Physics, TIFR, Mumbai). The audience was spell bound by their nuanced mastery over the subject and the passion and simplicity with which they conveyed seemingly difficult ideas. Their advocacy of technologies for sustainable development has inspired the faculty and staff of Don Bosco Kurla to take up new projects in environment and livelihood skills.

Reflecting years of relentless pursuit of their passion for sustainable development, case studies were presented by Fr. Xavier Devadas sdb, Incharge of  Eco & Youth Animation at Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha , Karjat, on Human Centered Technology; Br Alex Gonsalves, sdb, Administrator, DB Walvanda Palghar, on Watershed Management-Dongargaon Village Ahmednagar;  and Mr. Ashok Kalbag, Secretary for Indo-US Collaboration  for  Engineering Education (IUCEE) on technology for Rural entrepreneurship and Empowerment.

An exhibition displaying products using sustainable technologies in the areas of waste, solar etc. which included products created by women empowered through a green skills development program conducted by Don Bosco Centre for Learning. There was also a special track for ideas presented by students from different colleges. All this was possible due to the overwhelming support from our sponsors whose kind gesture and partnership made this Conference a reality.

At the close of the Conference, Dr Prasanna Nambiar (Principal, DBIT) announced the decision to set up a research Centre for Sustainable Development on the Campus. Work will begin on do-able 'Made in India' technologies for the renewable energy, water and waste management sectors that would lead to economical and sustainable development for the common man in India. DBIT looks forward to more corporate partnerships for research in sustainable projects.

In organizing this event the faculty staff and students of DBIT planned and executed this event excellently well. The buzz of interaction between guests, students and speakers was electrifying. And the best outcome of it all was that the International Conference was not just an academic affair but a very practical one with an outcome that opens many opportunities ahead.

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