World Engineering Day reaches a public of 56 million

This year’s edition of UNESCO’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on 4 March has reached 56 million people around the world, according to social media data.

Two highlights of the Day were a hackathon for young engineers and the first-ever 24-hour streaming event of a global UNESCO Day. These events were organized by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) with UNESCO support and participation.

The hackathon showcased the inventiveness of young engineers in solving real-life problems. Some 125 teams from 23 countries competed. The winners were announced during the 24-hour streaming event: an all-girl team from Batangas State University in the Philippines who used metal organic frameworks, which are novel adsorbents, to turn recycled plastic bottles into a type of material that is extremely porous, making it an effective means of removing pollutants from water.

One of the judges of the hackathon, Amal Kasry from UNESCO, observed that ‘the quality of the contestants was impressive and we were gratified to see the high level of awareness among students of the need to reduce waste and conserve water and other natural resources’.

Broadcast attracted almost 32,000 viewers

The 24-hour streaming event was designed to enable people in different time zones to engage with engineering around the world.  There were eight hubs, with the broadcast beginning in Australia, before following the sun to China then India, Ghana, the United Kingdom, France, USA and, lastly, Costa Rica. Each broadcast showcased engineering in the host region.

‘Over a 24-hour period, the broadcast was viewed by 31,538 people’, remarked Marlene Kanga, Immediate Past President of WFEO, ‘making this one of the largest international engineering events ever held’. The greatest number of viewers came from Ghana (18%), India (10%), Australia (10%), Costa Rica (7%), the Republic of Congo (6%), Singapore (6%), the USA (6%) and Nigeria (4%).

Seven out of ten (70.2%) viewers were men and eight out of ten (83.4%) were under the age of 35. Strong interest among 18–24 year-olds – 48.8% of viewers – suggests that tertiary students were particularly tuned in to the event.

‘What a splendid opportunity World Engineering Day offers to remind us how engineering is continuously shaping our world, said UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, in her message during the 24-hour studio broadcast. ‘Behind every building, every machine, every computer, there is an engineer. From the satellite circling the Earth to the microscope enlarging cell membranes, the world of the engineer ranges from the very large to the infinitesimally small’.

The recording of the 24-hour broadcast for World Engineering Day can be viewed until the end of February 2023.