I hope most of you have had a happy New Year, and I wish a happy New Year to those who are waiting for the beginning of the lunar year.
This is the second of my report on visits to conferences organized by member societies. I visited Concepción/Chile in late last November, and Mumbai/India in early last December.
In Concepción, I participated in an annual congress of Sociedad Chilena de Ergonomia (the Chilean Ergonomics Society) – X Congreso Chileno de Ergonomia (The 10th Chilean Congress of Ergonomics), November 25 – 27, 2015.
According to the congress organizer, about two hundred people attended. Besides invited speakers from France and Spain, the participants came from many Latin American countries, which included Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. Though it was supposed to be a national congress, it was virtually an international congress. More information is found in a congress summary provided by congress organizer (10th Chilean Congress of Ergonomics).
I was delighted to see old friends again, and I was of course very happy to meet new friends. In fact, I was impressed with a fact that many of the participants were young. I took it as a sign that ergonomics is in high demand and attracting young people. This was the most encouraging experience I had during the congress.
Another highlight was a visit to an institute at the Department of Ergonomics at the University of Concepción. This brand-new two-story institute is administered by Prof. Dr. Elias Apud and his team. Prof. Dr. Apud is a founder and living history of ergonomics in Chile. The institute is designed to be used for laboratory research. The institute has a nice conference hall, which I think is a powerful vehicle for scientific interactions among researchers in Latin America. Obviously, this institute as a whole will function as an important center of ergonomics research in Latin America. I hope that many able young researchers will be trained there and sent into various sectors of the society.
In Mumbai, I participated in the 13thInternational Ergonomics Conference – Humanizing Work and Work Environment 2015 (HWWE 2015), December 6-9, 2015. In conjunction with the conference, The International Symposium on Community Nutrition and Health: A Social Responsibility was held – The 9th Annual Event of the Nutrition Society of India Mumbai Chapter.
According to the conference organizer, five hundred scientific presentations were given in various categories. More information is found in a conference summary provided by the conference organizer (HWWE2015).
I was struck by Indian ways when I attended at HWWE for the first time in 2014 (HWWE2014 held in Guwahati). In particular, I admired the way senior researchers treated young researchers and students. I assumed that senior people cared about young people probably because they well recognized that younger people were an asset for the future. I was interested in testing this assumption at HWWE2015. Through interactions with university professors as well as observations, I became convinced that my assumption was correct. As President of the IEA, I was very much encouraged. I believe that this Indian approach must be taken as a good sign, and that the future of ergonomics in this country is quite promising.
Another pleasant memory was made in a visit to the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE). The director of NITIE, Prof. Karuna Jain, was kind enough to organize a meeting at NITIE after HWWE2015. Together with the IEA Vice President and Treasurer (Jose Orlando Gomes) and the IEA International Development Standing Committee Chair (Andrew Todd), I met with their faculty members. It gave us an opportunity to introduce IEA. It also gave us an opportunity to exchange views on the roles of IEA. I found it was a very valuable opportunity, and would like to have similar opportunities with other member societies.
In sum, the visits to Chile and India appeared to be very fruitful. A common observation was that younger people were very active. This is a promising sign for the future of ergonomics in these countries. Also in both visits, I was provided with opportunities to understand more about roles that IEA should play to promote ergonomics on global scale. I am looking forward to visiting more member societies in 2016.
Yushi Fujita, President