Kenji Ishihara: 50th Anniversary of SEAGS


Kenji Ishihara_pic_message

Kenji Ishihara
1997-2001 President of ISSMGE

It is with great pleasure to have an opportunity to express my mind of congratulations on the occasion of the 50 year’s memorial event in the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society.

The countries in this region have made significant progress in geotechnology over the past decades as a result of enormous and concerted efforts by a number of engineers interested in the profession of geotechnology. I would also like to acknowledge the self-dedicating and unflagging endeavor by key role playing persons particularly in the formative period of the Southeast Asian multi-national society in ISSMGE.

The first occasion for me to participate in the conference in the Southeast Asian region was in 1971 when the 4th Asian regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering was held in Bangkok. There were several individuals now cited as legendary harbingers who had ventured to work hard not only technically but also administratively in organizing the gathering. It met with great success. The arena in which engineers can share common interest and establish ties of friendship is essentially needed in any discipline to be established firmly and to be advanced towards maturity. The geotechnical discipline was very fortunate in this respect to have had such a community established in the early stage of social development after the end of the World War II.

Asian Region is natively characterized by the presence of Monsoon climate and plagued by natural disasters brought about heavy rainfalls and strong wind. Also, there is threat by strong earthquakes in many of the Asian countries. Thus, one of the major challenges imposed to geotechnical engineering would be how to cope with these natural hazards.

It is hoped that significant advances will be made in future in this challenging area of geotechnical expertise.

As the society is advanced economically and grows toward maturity, it becomes more frequent for the geotechnical engineers to be involved in problems associated with what is called ”Brown fields” as contrasted to “Green fields”. Thus, the issues associated with environments are becoming more pronounced. This trend compels geotechnical engineers to be increasingly aware of risks or sometimes legal issues.

Needs of care more for human aspects appear engineers to become more important for geotechnical engineers in general. With overall trends as above in recognition, I wish engineering generation make all possible efforts so that they can cater more to social needs. This is a horizon we should not miss to consider.

I earnestly wish the geotechnical engineering become an important expertise and profession not to be dispensed with in the society in which we can live safely and comfortably.