Friday, September 13, 2013

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

PSA Conference Travel Report
Randika Anjalie Jayasinghe (20828908)
School of Environmental Systems Engineering

The PSA conference travel award was used to attend the ninth annual Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace Conference, held at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from the 14th to 16th August 2013.
Attending this conference provided a professionally rewarding experience. It gave me an opportunity to network with researchers from other universities who are working in diverse research areas within the engineering and social justice space. My paper titled “The assumptions, diverse realities and promises: Understanding the power relations in waste management in Sri Lanka” received valuable feedback and comments from the participants. In addition, I got the opportunity to listen to other presentations and to converse with researchers. Most importantly, presenters can also publish their conference papers in the Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace.
My research is focused on developing poverty reducing solutions for marginalised people working in waste management in Sri Lanka. Hence, this conference was a good learning experience and improved my understanding of how I can use social justice dialogues in the Sri Lankan context. I was able to develop networks with many of the international experts and scholars in the social justice field. There was opportunity to contribute to discussions and brainstorm ideas on new topics such as social justice, ethics, diversity, and sustainability, which added great value to my research experience.
The conference included presentations by international experts in the field, workshops, panel discussions, and a theatre performance providing an opportunity to engage in actual activities with other participants and sharing their input. The discussions enabled to share the social justice related research carried out at UWA and to learn new socially just community development concepts used in other parts of the world. The knowledge obtained through the conference and group-led discussions around concepts of engineering and development will add to conversations with UWA engineering students.
I thank the PSA for awarding this travel grant to cover part of my travel expenses to attend this important conference. I will acknowledge this contribution in my journal publication.

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