The Belt and Road Webinar Series on Geotechnics, Energy and Environment (BRWSG) were successfully concluded at 16:00 p.m. in Beijing time on May 29, 2021. The aim of this webinar series was to connect young scholars working in areas of geotechnics, energy and environment across countries listed in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI is a global infrastructure project connectivity established by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of the aims of BRI is to develop intellectual capacity as well as education and research cooperation among countries for mutual sustainable development.
Influenced by the global COVID-19, the organizing committee adopted a new mode of international academic exchange and held a series of webinars without any registration fees. The webinar series consisting of 25 sessions lasted for two months, i.e., 27th March to 29th May 2021. Considering the time differences between various countries and regions, 2-3 sessions were held every week.
This Webinar Series was organized by the International Society for Environmental Geotechnical Engineering (ISEG ), TC305 Technical Committee of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), and the Chinese Subsociety for Intelligent Monitoring in Geoengineering of Chinese Society for Rock Mechanics and Engineering. The organizing committee includes faculties from Nanjing University, Shantou University, Eurasian National University, and Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
There are 5 keynote presentations and 20 invited presentations in the webinar series. The speakers come from 22 countries/regions, including China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India, Kuwait, Iran, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, and Hong Kong SAR (China). These presentations can be categories into three themes, i.e. geotechnics, energy and environment, with rich and diverse content and a wide range of coverage. Around 1200 delegates around the world participated in this webinar series and the invited presentations were highly appreciated. The theme covers geological disaster prevention and control, underground space development, engineering monitoring and early warning, infrastructure operation and maintenance, geo-environmental engineering, coastal and offshore engineering, energy security and sustainable development, etc. Lively exchanges and discussions were carried out on research topics of common concern, which surpassed the barrier of the pandemic and helped in enhancing mutual understanding and deepening mutual friendship.
The Opening Ceremony was held on 27th March 2021. The Chairman of ISEG, Professor Bin Shi (Nanjing University), congratulated the initiative and delivered a warm speech. Subsequently, Prof Feng Da Hsuan, Honorary President of Belt and Road Research Institute at Hainan University and former Vice-President of Research and Development at the University of Texas at Dallas, gave a keynote lecture titled “China’s Millennium Transformation: The Belt And Road Initiative”. He discussed the origin and goals of BRI, predicting that it will certainly promote the prosperity of all countries.
The Closing Ceremony of the webinar series was held on 29th May 2021. Prof. Askar Zhussupbekov, the former Vice-President of ISSMGE for Asia and President of Geotechnical Society of Kazakhstan, suggested to further enhance academic, cultural exchanges and mutual understanding among scholars of BRI. He sincerely thanks all the experts for their presentations and enthusiastic participants.
Prof. Shui-Long Shen, Dean of Shantou University, congratulated the organizers for the successful organization of the webinar series, which promotes international communication related to geotechnical, energy and the environment. He pointed out that the distinctive feature of this webinar series is its wide coverage and strong participation. It is unprecedented in terms of the country of the participants and the broadness and depth of the topics. He looked forward to closer cooperation between the invited speakers and participants in the future.
Finally, Professor Zhu Honghu, Chair of the organizing committee, gave a brief concluding speech. He expressed his heartfelt thanks to the members of the organizing committee for their hard work in the past two months. The organizers will summarize the experience of hosting the webinar series and continue to promote China’s cooperation along BRI in areas of geotechnics, energy and environment.