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Civil engineering doctoral candidate receives International Engagement Award

Doctoral candidate Ahmed Ibrahim (center) receives MU’s 2010 International Engagement Award for his work in Peru with Assistant Professor of German Education Monika Fischer (left) and Handy Williamson, Vice Provost for International Programs (right).

After an earthquake devastated Peru in 2007, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) selected and funded a University of Missouri team of researchers to evaluate the condition of 40 school and university buildings.

Ahmed Ibrahim, a doctoral candidate in civil engineering, was one of three students selected to take part in the assessment. For his efforts on that project and his initiative on a civil engineering academic exchange, Ibrahim was honored with MU’s 2010 International Engagement Award. The award, presented by the MU Council on International Initiatives, recognizes outstanding student contributions to “sustain and extend MU’s global reach and understanding.”

“We went to Peru in April of 2008 to make an assessment of 40 damaged buildings, which we did in nine days,” said Ibrahim. “At the time we worked from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day to see all of the buildings. We did some drawings and when we came back, we used software to make our report.

Ibrahim said that the work he did in Peru made a lasting impression on him. “It was a great trip. It makes you feel good to help people who are poor and have very little to start with,” he said.

Associate Professor Hani Salim, Ibrahim’s mentor in civil and environmental engineering, is responsible for nominating him for the award. “Ibrahim’s involvement with this team was all voluntary, and his contribution to the effort created an everlasting impact on the people of Peru,” he wrote.

The doctoral candidate, working in Salim’s lab assessing pre-stressed concrete bridge girder performance, also is responsible for the initiation of a cooperative program between MU and Zagazig University in Egypt, where he earned his master’s degree. His efforts resulted in two Egyptian doctoral candidates coming to MU to conduct research and earn their degrees from Mizzou Engineering under a joint supervision program – with one advisor from each university.

“The dean of Zagazig will come here to meet with the MU engineering dean and the students’ American advisors – Salim and Davidson Professor John Bowders – will go meet the Egyptian advisors at Zagazig to discuss the research and the results,” Ibrahim said of the cooperative agreement that opens doors to additional collaborations.



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