IIESL New Head Quarters Building

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A Decade of Professionalism
Today, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UAE Branch of the Institution of Incorporated Engineers, Sri Lanka (IIESL). The 10th anniversary of an institution is an opportunity for its members to look back, evaluate the milestones achieved, and plan for the future.

A few questions we should ask ourselves are "Did we build the right foundation? Did we set the right goals? And did we move in the right direction?" Overwhelmingly, the answer to all these questions is "Yes". These achievements, no doubt, stem from the hard work of the IIESL-UAE leadership and the members of the IIESL-UAE Branch.
The origin of our UAE branch traces back to a forward-thinking group of Sri Lankan Diplomates in 2005. They contacted a few other Diplomates and the IIESL members in Sri Lanka and decided to outline the main objectives for the proposed UAE branch.
The main objectives were:

  • To get to know other Diplomates and their families in a social context
  • To form a platform for Diplomates to share professional knowledge and experience
  • To arrange seminars, lectures and workshops as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) activities, for them to improve their skills
  • To build a link with the IIESL and allow members to obtain professional qualifications and designations such as the I. Eng., FIIESL, MIIESL and AMIIESL

Below is an extract of the objective that was circulated among identified Diplomates.
"To join hands with the mother organization in Sri Lanka ( IIESL ) as a united front, to support their continuous effort to enhance the academic and social status of members and the recognition, by increasing the professionalism as an engineering body."

There were a number of challenges to setting up our IIESL branch, and IIESL Past President Eng. Shantha Senarath played a critical role in guiding us to overcome these obstacles. To start, we needed a minimum of 25 members. We only had 10 full members at the time, but we knew that there were other members and multiple eligible Diplomates in the region. We just needed to find the members, and give eligible Diplomates the opportunity to become IIESL members. We worked with the Senior Vice President and Chairperson of Membership Eng., Mrs. Namalie Siambalapitiya,and held the first overseas Professional Review Examination, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in April 2006. Our efforts quickly quadrupled our numbers to 42 Members and 16 Associate Members.
Next, we ran into the challenge that the IIESL had never set up an overseas branch before, and thus required legislative changes. With the support of Eng Senarath, Eng Namalie, and the Committee of Management of the IIESL, we moved quickly to draft the necessary constitution and complete the necessary groundwork.

We managed to complete all the requirements for a formal overseas branch and the Council of Management of the IIESL ratified the formation of the first ever overseas branch, in the AGM held in July 2006.
In January 2007, the branch held its inaugural annual general meeting and get-together, in Dubai. The President, Past Presidents of the IIESL, delegates from other professional associations, and the Ambassador and the Consul General of Sri Lanka, attended the ceremony. During the session, as a token of our appreciation, we donated a sum of one million rupees to fund construction of the IIESL headquarters in Sri Lanka.
Soon after our formation, we set up an executive committee and sub committees. Within the first two years of our existence, we increased our membership to over 91 Members and 49 Associate Members.
Of course, there were multiple other obstacles to overcome, even after the successful setup of our branch. Barely a year had passed since our inaugural meeting when we were challenged by the financial recession of the region. As the economic downturn took hold of the UAE, halting construction jobs in their tracks, many of our members had no choice but to return to Sri Lanka and other parts of the world. I am enormously proud of the actions of our group at that time - we kept our core group together, supported our members through this difficult time, and made sure that we held our annual meeting without fail every year.
But how specifically is our branch helpful for the local Diplomate community? For many of us, when we are away from our home country, it is difficult to find the resources and the community to advance our professional career. With these remote IIESL branches, our goal is to set up professional programs that we wish we had access to when we first entered a new country. We want every new generation of Diplomates to find it progressively easier to improve their professional skillsets, thus giving them more and more opportunities for professional success.
So today, if you are a Diplomate entering the UAE, the programs we have set up will help you:

  • Become a member of the IIESL by completing the competency based professional review examination (since 2009)
  • Obtain a Bachelor of Information Technology Degree (External Degree) (since 2006)
  • Become members of the City and Guilds Institute, London (since 2007)
  • Become a graduate of the PMI, Sri Lanka (since September 2007, when we established the PIM International Center, which was the first Sri Lankan university on foreign soil)
  • Become a Toastmaster by joining the SLP Toastmasters Club (since 2007)
  • Become a member of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, UK (since 2009)
  • Continue and enhance your professional career by following CPD sessions
  • Become a IIESL Certified Examiner (since 2009)

Understanding the necessity of having a headquarters building for the Institution, IIESL-UAE have donated over Rupees 2,000,000.00 for the IIESL Headquarters Building Fund over this decade.
The success of the UAE has motivated us to bring IIESL branches to our peers all across the Gulf. We assisted our colleagues in Qatar to set up a Professional Review Examination in 2007, recruit 27 Members within their first year and create a formal IIESL branch in 2013. We have also scaled this approach of setting up membership drives in multiple other countries, like Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Finally, I would like to reiterate my appreciation and thanks to the Council of Management of the IIESL, H E the Ambassador, Hon Consul General of Sri Lanka, other professional associations, and of course, the management and the membership of the IIESL-UAE Branch for their contributions throughout the past decade to make these achievements possible. I sincerely wish that all of you will work with us, building an even more valuable service for our members and the professional community at large, as we move into the second decade of our organization.

Extract: IIESL_UAE Souvenir-AGM 2016