151-8101-00L  International Engineering: from Hubris to Hope

SemesterAutumn Semester 2022
LecturersE. Tilley, M. Kalina
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractSince Europe surrendered their colonial assets, engineers from rich countries have returned to the African continent to address the real and perceived ills that they felt technology could solve. And yet, 70 years on, the promise of technology has largely failed to deliver widespread, substantive improvements in the quality of life. Why?
ObjectiveThis course is meant for engineers who are interested in pursuing an ethical and relevant career internationally, and who are willing to examine the complex role that well-meaning foreigners have played and continue to play in the disappointing health outcomes that characterize much of the African continent.

After completing the course, participants will be able to
• critique the jargon and terms used by the international community, i.e. “development”, “aid”, “cooperation”, “assistance” “third world” “developing” “global south” “low and middle-income” and justify their own chosen terminology
• recognize the role of racism and white-supremacy in the development of the Aid industry
• understand the political, financial, and cultural reasons why technology and infrastructure have historically failed
• Debate the merits of international engineering in popular culture and media
• Propose improved SDG indicators that address current shortcomings
• Compare the engineering curricula of different countries to identify relative strengths and shortcomings
• Explain the inherent biases of academic publishing and its impact on engineering failure
• Analyse linkages between the rise of philanthropy and strategic priority areas
• Recommend equitable, just funding models to achieve more sustainable outcomes
• Formulate a vision for the international engineer of the future
ContentRole of international engineering during colonialism
Transition of international engineering following colonialism
White saviourism and racism in international engineering
International engineering in popular culture
The missing role of Engineering Education
Biases academic publishing
The emerging role in Global Philanthropy
The paradox of International funding
LiteratureMcGoey, L. (2015). No such thing as a free gift: The Gates Foundation and the price of philanthropy. Verso Books.
Moyo, D. (2009). Dead aid: Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa. Macmillan.
Munk, N. (2013). The idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the quest to end poverty. Signal.
Rodney, W. (2018). How europe underdeveloped africa. Verso Trade.