Engineers Without Borders Gala Event
Wednesday, September 19, 2007, 7:00PM, Centre for International Governance
Speaking Notes for David Johnston
Event Background: This event is being put on by the student and professional chapters of
Engineers Without Borders in Waterloo.
David Johnston, President, UW
Ryan Case, EWB Intern
Christina Randall, EWB Intern
Wayne Miranda, EWB Intern
Mike Spendlove, EWB UW Chapter President (co-emcee)
Ben Best, EWB Chapter President (co-emcee
Ramy Nassar, EWB Chapter President
7:00PM – Doors Open
7:18PM – Mike Spendlove’s opening remarks and introduction of David Johnston.
7:20PM – David Johnston’s Welcoming Remarks (10 minutes)
Thank you for the introduction Mike.
Good evening everyone. My name is David Johnston,
and I’m the president of the University of Waterloo.
On behalf of the University of Waterloo I would like to
welcome you to the Fourth Annual Engineers Without
Borders Gala here at the Centre for International
I’d first like to give credit to the UW chapter of
Engineers Without Borders, which has been in
operation since the fall of 2000, holding many events
such as this one.
The volunteers from the student and professional
chapters who organized this event deserve our thanks
I arrived at this university in 1999 and I recall how two
UW graduates had the vision and tenacity to create this
EWB and watching the organization take flight over
these past seven years has been extremely gratifying.
This year the student and professional chapters of
Engineers Without Borders here in Waterloo have
joined forces to bring you all together here tonight,
students, faculty and professionals alike from the
Waterloo area to thank you for your support for EWB’s
efforts to affect change in the world.
In fact, the very theme of this year’s gala is “Be
Change,” and it’s a statement that is as provocative as
it is essential.
If I’m not mistaken the theme comes from the words of
Mahatma Gandhi, who famously said, “You must be the
change you want to see in the world.”
That statement leaves no room for spectators and is a
recognition that actions do indeed speak louder than
words, and if we want change, we must act.
The mission of Engineers Without Borders is tied to
both change and action, with the promotion of human
development through access to technology.
EWB believes that technology, when appropriately
incorporated into each community’s social, cultural,
economic and political context, can drive extraordinary
change, and we at the University of Waterloo share that
By any measure, Engineers Without Borders is a true
Waterloo success story of entrepreneurship, innovation,
and of connections to the real world. Those are the
university’s values, and we are proud of the efforts of
George Roter and Parker Mitchell, who got together in
a coffee shop one morning and hatched an idea.
But they didn’t stop there. They took their idea and
acted on it, becoming change. They took action.
Tonight we are also celebrating the return of three
overseas volunteers from the UW chapter who
themselves took action to uphold EWB’s mission this
past summer: Ryan Case, Christina Randall, and
Ryan Case, a second year student in Systems Design
Engineering, spent the summer in Northern Ghana
working for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture
analyzing rural agricultural technologies and working
with agricultural field staff.
Christina Randall, also in second year Systems Design
Engineering, was in Eastern Zambia with the PROFIT
project, or Production, Finance and Technology,
working to facilitate business relationships between the
private sector and smallholder farms.
And Wayne Miranda, Fourth Year Mechatronics, spent
his internship in Malawi with an organizational
development consulting firm named CADECO, and
assisted on projects with NGOs involved in the
promotion of youth rights and democracy.
We will be hearing from each of these volunteers
tonight but please feel free to approach Ryan, Christina
and Wayne throughout the evening with any questions
you may have about their experiences this summer.
EWB internships are a model for co-op placements.
These international co-op experiences create bright
In addition to their signature overseas internship
programs, EWB also focuses a large amount of its work
on promoting awareness about international poverty
and development among Canadians through public
engagement programming and member education
Waterloo is quickly becoming a hub for such activity, as
the past year has seen the formation of a new local
chapter of EWB – a professional chapter right here in
Working in parallel with our already successful student
chapter, this group is engaging professionals in the KW
community to become more involved.
Engineers Without Borders is Canada’s fastest growing
not-for-profit organization, and it is exciting to see that
growth is still possible right here in Waterloo where it all
The professional Waterloo chapter has already hosted
three public lectures right here at CIGI as well as a
number of smaller networking events.
You can look forward to an even stronger community
presence and continued partnership with CIGI in the
To give you an idea of the rapid pace of EWB’s growth,
as of February 2007 there were 26 university chapters,
6 professional chapters and more than 25,000
members nationwide and I’m sure the numbers have
gone up since that data was collected.
EWB reached their first 10,000 members in only five
years, so to surpass 25,000 in seven is a remarkable
I’d like to take this opportunity to give you the lay of the
land this evening. The next fifteen minutes are all yours
as you mingle and network and hopefully participate in
the Silent Auction.
Then at 7:45 for half an hour we will hear the
presentations from our overseas volunteers and
remarks from the Chapter Presidents Mike Spendlove,
Ben Best, and Ramy Nassar , then at 8:15 we will have
some more networking time until the close of the Silent
Auction at 8:30PM.
In closing, I would like to remind you of the many
opportunities that everyone in attendance now has to
get involved and “be change” by attending education
events and forums, by donating to local chapters or the
national office, or getting involved with a chapter of
EWB. Don’t sit still. Get up. Be Change.
Thank you very much, and enjoy your evening.
7:30PM – 7:45PM – Networking/mingling, Silent Auction
7:45PM – 8:15PM – Overseas volunteer presentations and brief remarks from chapter
8:15PM – 8:30PM – Networking/mingling
8:30PM – Close of Silent Auction