Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) and Yayasan UTP organised the World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress (ESTCON2012), deemed as one of the largest world congresses Malaysia has ever hosted. It was officially opened by the Minister of Higher Education, YB Dato’ Sri Mohamed Khaled Nordin on 12 June 2012 and closed by the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, YB Dato’ Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui on 14 June 2012. Themed "Towards Sustainability: Bridging Engineering, Technology and Humanities", it successfully gathered about 1,200 experts from 45 various countries representing diverse fields of research and innovation in the spirit of sustaining knowledge for the betterment of humanity.
In his opening speech, YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khalid remarked that the theme of the congress was indeed relevant to Malaysia’s transformation into a developed country by 2020. He said, “Malaysia has come a long way in promoting research and understanding in the various areas on science and technology. While science and technology are important, social sciences and the humanities should never be marginalised and should be treated as equally important. The moment we neglect the arts and humanities, which nurture the critical and the creative perspective, then we are in fact neglecting the need for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas, and for the search of truth.”
For the Opening Ceremony, two notable speakers delivered their keynote addresses. The first keynote entitled ‘Sustainability, Energy, and Civilization: Issues and Options’ was delivered by Professor Dr Michael A Celia, Professor of Environmental Studies and Civil & Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, USA. He is also the contributing author to IPCC Working Group III Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage who shares in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In delivering his keynote, Professor Celia revealed that science and technology provided the best options in solving the sustainability-energy problem.
The second keynote entitled “Roles and Responsibilities of Humanity Facing Global Challenges in the 21st Century" was delivered by Professor Dr Feng Da-Hsuan, Vice President of Global Strategy, Development and Evaluation, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. Professor Feng concluded that in order to solve global challenges, one must not be totally dependent on science and technology, but to also understand human behaviors and public policies, as they would help in building a better world for the human race in the 21st century.
This biennial three-day congress also included 23 parallel sessions with 26 renowned plenary speakers who are experts in their respective fields. It comprised eight simultaneously-held international conferences, namely the:
||International Conference on Integrated Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences (ICIPEG 2012)
||International Conference on Civil, Offshore & Environmental Engineering (ICCOEE 2012)
||International Conference on Production, Energy and Reliability (ICPER 2012)
||International Conference on Process Engineering and Advanced Materials (ICPEAM 2012)
||International Conference on Intelligent & Advanced System (ICIAS 2012)
||International Conference on Computer & Information Sciences (ICCIS 2012)
||International Conference on Fundamental and Applied Science (ICFAS 2012)
International Conference on Management, Social Sciences & Humanities (ICMeSH2012)
ESTCON2012 has also worked on a special Carbon Offset Project (COP) called “Save the Earth” to help minimize global warming by planting trees during the organization of the congress. For this project, UTP focus on reducing and reworking strategies to minimise carbon footprint in three key areas involved in organising the Congress, namely air travel, paper usage and electricity consumption. To achieve this, trees are planted to minimise or counter back the carbon emission level. Some of these trees are sponsored by the staff of the university. The sponsorship received for this congress are also channeled to fund the tree planting activities.
This is the second time that UTP had embarked on the project. For ESTCON 2010, 200 trees were planted at UTP and another 200 trees were planted last week in conjunction with this year’s ESTCON.
During the closing ceremony of the three day congress, YB Dato’ Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Science, hoped that UTP have set the precedence and foundation for more practical sustainable solutions in various disciplines and increase efficient use of energy, water and materials. He also congratulated UTP as ESTCON 2012 has met its objectives of serving as an important platform for academic, researchers, scientists, engineers, interest groups and industry experts from all the around the world to share knowledge, have fruitful intellectual discussions and forge meaningful networking on various areas of interest. Later, YB Dato’ Sri Peter also gave away certificates to the 25 best papers presented during the congress.
Earlier, the speakers and delegates were treated with a delightful dinner, accompanied with songs and cultural performances by UTP students on the evening of 12 June 2012. After the dinner, the delegates also had the opportunity to experience ‘batik chanting’, pewter smithing, mengkuang weaving and many more local handicrafts making activities.
The next ESTCON is scheduled to be held from 3 – 5 June 2014.