Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,


This is my eighteenth progress report after 545 days as your President. Note that previous reports are on the ISSMGE web site ( under “From the President” if you need them. In this report, I would like to talk to you about webinars and share with you some frustration associated with recent disasters. I ask two questions in blue below.


Webinars topics
I believe that webinars are important to the future of ISSMGE. A webinar is a 60 to 90 minutes lecture where a speaker goes through a power point slide presentation on the internet while sitting behind their computer anywhere in the world. The participants are at their desks anywhere else in the world, looking at the computer screen where the power point slides come one after the other while listening to the voice of the speaker usually on a phone line. Participants can ask questions by typing on their keyboard and the questions appear on the lower part of the screen. This technology has the advantage of being quite inexpensive but with the limitation of no video interaction.

The IDC has been working on bringing webinars to reality within ISSMGE. We need to thank, again, Dimitris Zekkos and Marc Ballouz for their energy in this time consuming process. I anticipate that webinars could be offered for about $200 per site but more than one person could be watching the screen at each site. While $200 may not be too high for some countries it may be a burden for others. Those for whom this amount would create hardship could apply to the ISSMGE Foundation for support. We are thinking about starting with 4 webinars in the first year of operation and go on from there.


My question to you is the following: what topics would you like to have offered as webinar topics and which world expert would you like to hear from on each topic. Any other comments are welcome as usual. I will let you know the results of this informal survey in a following report. Obviously our technical committees will be a great resource in this process.


There seems to have been a very unfortunate surge in natural disasters in the last year or so: Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, Japan to name a few. Each time I hear about one of these disasters, I find myself powerless. Of course, I send compassionate emails to a few people I know in that country but that does not go very far. After the Haiti earthquake where so many died, ISSMGE organized with the help of Luis Carpio and Pedro Pinto an international seminar where excellent speakers went to Santo Domingo to discuss earthquake and foundation engineering. Financially, ISSMGE is a very lean organization so we cannot send any money  in the amount that would make any difference. Proper and compassionate response by ISSMGE to such disasters is important to me and I am sure to many of you. What is in our means? What can we do? Please share your ideas with me in the next few weeks so we can show that we are truly a family, a worldwide professional family.



Please relay this message to all your members. Best wishes,

Jean-Louis BRIAUD
President of ISSMGE
International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering