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The Michael Scott Mater (MSMF) is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Concord, North Carolina. The primary mission of MSMF is to provide humanitarian outreach in the areas of sustainable engineering and renewable energy. MSMF’s primary initiative is named International Promotion of Sustainable Engineering (IPOSE).

What is IPOSE? It is a forum that brings together representatives from academia, government, corporations and community leaders to discuss and learn new processes and technologies in sustainable and renewable technologies centered around sustainable engineering and construction management. IPOSE sets the stage for curriculum development within higher education systems, collaborative research opportunities, industry development and expansion opportunities for current and emerging markets, and student/faculty exchanges with participating universities. The participants benefit from the IPOSE by becoming a catalyst towards implementing change in the way universities across the globe partner with each other in order to codify research initiatives/capabilities and curricula. Additionally, it offers corporations and industry players the ability to see first hand how technologies and processes can be utilized in different environments; enabling the identification of business opportunities that create jobs at the community, provincial, and national levels.

In August 2009, MSMF in conjunction with Oregon State University and Oregon BEST (Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) sponsored the first ever IPOSE at Oregon State University. Nineteen Iraqi university engineering professors and department heads – representing 11 Iraqi universities – traveled to the US to participate in a two-week seminar to learn the latest information concerning sustainability platforms and renewable energy. The seminar took place at three major universities in Oregon that specialized in these topics. They included Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University. Additionally, the Iraqi professors were able to visit major construction sites and projects around the state that were performed using sustainability platforms. The projects included road construction, commercial building construction, city traffic monitoring, LEED certified facilities, and solar power installations.

Each of the Oregon universities also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with 20 Iraqi universities which set in play an agreement to cooperate on educational exchange. Because of the IPOSE – Iraq, Oregon State University now has 15 international PhD candidates in less than one month within the College of Civil and Construction Engineering. Additionally, other candidates are being accepted into the College of Engineering and other academic fields. OSU has now been thrust into the spotlight in the State of Oregon as a leader in sustainable engineering and sustainability initiatives within higher education. Oregon State University is now the primary partner in the US for the next phase called I-CSEE (International Coalition of Sustainable Engineering Education).

What is I-CSEE? I-CSEE is a coalition that is comprised of both Ministries of Higher Education and Scientific Research for the Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government, 20 universities throughout the Republic of Iraq, MSMF and Oregon State University. The Objective of I-CSEE is to develop an environment in which the Iraqi universities can dramatically increase their contributions towards international research focused on sustainability platforms through the development of testing laboratories. The laboratories have been categorized by speciality (aspects of sustainability that they will focus on) and by location/region within Iraq. Additionally, each lab is tied directly to a specific community/provincial/regional problem/need that they will help address centered on infrastructure development and quality of life. MSMF has broken the labs and locations into three groups for funding purposes. I-CSEE is a national effort the crosses traditional cultural lines and links the higher education system of the nation together. The intent is to increase the velocity of research capability and final product coming out of Iraq through internal and international collaboration efforts, and improve the relationships with both governmental and private sector elements for continued research efforts that help tackle the critical needs on the ground in Iraq.

I-CSEE is important because this is the first coalition of its kind in the region and it is important not only because it will help advance the reconstruction efforts throughout the Republic, but also it will set the stage for Iraq to demonstrate its ability to be a regional leader and responsible member of the international community. More importantly, it will give the Iraqi Higher Education System the tools that it needs to compete with the established systems of Europe and the United States. Additionally, I-CSEE will open the door for US-based researchers to test their theories in different environments; identifying novel applications that otherwise would not have been identified. Furthermore, I-CSEE opens the door for research fellowships for students and faculty from Iraq to the United States; increasing the international profiles of American Institutions as well as profit margins.

October 20 – 21, 2009 MSMF attended the US & Iraq Investment Conference in Washington, DC to meet with the different Iraqi government Ministries, Iraqi businesses, and US businesses that are interested in business investment and cooperation. MSMF’s primary purpose was to identify potential business and governmental partners interested in funding / equipping the test laboratories.

MSMF also has a current project in Peru. There are additional IPOSE(s) in the planning phase for other countries around the world. Any individual or business interested in supporting our effort, please contact MSMF at http://www.msmf.org.

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