19th September to 4th October 2020

Written by: Zia Ahmed, General Chair for R10 SYWL2020

The IEEE Region 10 Students, Young Professional, Women in Engineering and Life Members (R10 SYWL) Congress is a flagship R10 biennial event, which provides a platform for IEEE volunteers from Sections across the region to learn and train for enhancement of their personal and professional skills, interact with each other and network to learn best practices. The congress, originally scheduled to be held at Bangkok, Thailand in September, 2020, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the R10 leadership decided to hold the congress virtually. As engineers and scientists are playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the theme selected for the Virtual R10 SYWL Congress 2020 was “Pandemic to Opportunity – Collaborative Leadership Towards Technology Advancement for Humanity”. One of the main objectives of organizing the congress was to explore new horizons of collaborations and moving forward in advancing technology during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The R10 SYWL Virtual Congress was conducted over 16 days, from 19th September to 4th October 2020, via WebEx sessions and live streaming on Facebook. More than fifty volunteers helped to successfully conduct the R10 SYWL Virtual Congress 2020 consisting of four tracks (Students, Young Professionals, Women in Engineering and Life Members) and three public sessions (Educational Activities, HAC and IEEE SA). 120 speakers, including 44 female speakers, delivered keynote speeches, technical talks and participated in panel discussions. The ratio between academia/non-academia speakers was about 66:59.

The R10 SYWL Virtual Congress 2020 was launched with an Opening Ceremony on 19th September 2020. R10 SYWL General Chair Dr. Zia Ahmed welcomed IEEE President Professor Toshio Fukuda, MGA Vice President Prof. Kukjin Chun, R10 Director Prof. Akinori Nishihara and R10 Director-Elect Deepak Mathur to the congress. Prof. Fukuda and Prof. Nishihara delivered the keynote addresses. The four Track Chairs also addressed the participants and outlined their program for the congress.

During the 16-day congress there were a total of 25 sessions, consisting of opening ceremony, 7 sessions under the Students Track, 4 sessions under the WIE Track, 4 sessions of YP Track and 5 sessions of LM Track, 3 special sessions related to Educational Activities, Humanitarian Activities, and IEEE Standard Association and finally a closing ceremony.  There were a total of 1,362 registered participants nominated by Sections for attending the online WebEx session.  Most of the sessions were also lived streamed and archived via R10 Facebook SYWL page, which attracted more than 10,000 additional participants. There were also 5 contests and numerous networking sessions and a cultural performance show at the closing ceremony.

Students Activities Track

Student Track consisted of Seven Sessions, delivered by 37 globally recognized speakers/moderators. Each session consisted of bonus networking sessions for attendees. All sessions were partnered with 78 Student Branches from R10. The sessions were in collaboration with IEEE Industry Engagement Society, IEEE Entrepreneurship, IEEE Etta Kappa Nu Society, IEEE Industry Relations Society, IEEE Volunteer Leadership Program and IEEE Centre for Leadership Excellence.

R10 Student Activities Committee launched the Student Branch Partnership Program to provide an opportunity for Student Branches to partner with the R10 SYWL Virtual Congress so as to maximize students’ participation in the student-oriented programs. The program partnered with 78 Student Branches across 19 Sections covering 8 countries within R10 and enormously boosted students’ participation in a plethora of interactive activities spread throughout the 2 weeks of the congress. The partnered SBs contributed by initiating through screening/broadcasting student track sessions to extended audiences within their Student Branch community.

The best part of R10 SYWL Congress was the opportunity of connecting to a broader IEEE member network. As such, exclusive virtual networking sessions were designed at the end of every Student Track session which allowed to foster a much stronger web of networks at various OU and geographic levels i.e. Student Branches, SB Technical Society Chapters, Affinity Groups, Sections and across countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The purpose of organizing the networking activities was for the participants to mingle with each other, widen their connections, learn from each other, and have fun while attending a virtual congress. Interactive games such as the Puzzles and Bingo with IEEE were organized to make the sessions much fun and engaging. Moreover, the speakers and delegates also conducted informal sharing sessions about best practices when volunteering and about IEEE student member benefits. Surprise prizes were presented to the most engaged student attendees of the congress. Mayesha Tafannum, who was one of active delegates from Bangladesh Section and one of the Networking Surprise Prize winners, mentioned that “This experience is incredible! From being able to listen to prominent speakers on wonderful topics to attending the networking sessions! The best part was the networking sessions where we were able to connect with different members from different sections of R10. Attended each of them and getting to know new people across our region and it felt amazing”.

Exciting student contests were also held throughout the congress. The joint contest by Student Activities & WIE Committees gave an opportunity to SBs/SAC/WIEs to showcase the best practices and activities to improve membership retention and development. The contest was sponsored by Life Member Funding for student activities. The contest aimed for giving recognition to the SBs/SAC/WIEs groups at Student and Section WIE AG levels. The theme of the contest was “Engage and Educate”. The Student Branch, Section SAC and Section WIE Affinity Groups were invited to participate in the contest and showcase the activities that they had organized so as to engage and educate IEEE members through creative posters. The 5 shortlisted best contestants of each category underwent a Facebook poster contest and a 3-min LIVE video presentation.  The winners were:

CategoryWinner (Prize: USD 500)Runner-Up (Prize: USD 250)
Section SACIEEE Malaysia Section IEEE Bombay Section 
Student BranchCollege of Engineering KarunagappallySilver Oak College of Engineering & Tech
Section WIEIEEE Bangalore Section WIEIEEE Gujarat Section WIE
Student Branch WIEIEEE BVP SB WIEThe NorthCap University SB WIE

The contest was also a great platform to recognize active SBs/SAC/WIEs of IEEE Region 10 and provided an opportunity to showcase their best practices and activities to IEEE Region 10 Top Leadership.

Group photo taken at Final Round Judging LIVE Presentations  

The R10 SYWLC Student Track Virtual Nethack aimed to improve participants’ communication and networking skills to a wider online viewing community. The contest facilitated the recognition of these networking skills and to learn the best practices and activities organized in other SB/Section/Region. The theme of the contest was to promote “Virtual Networking”. The competition was conducted through team-building activities such as virtual meets, team tasks and quizzes. All members of the top 3 teams received USD27 IEEE membership subscription and the winners were:

RankTeam’s NameTeam Members (Section)
1MarsRabbia Saleem (Australian Capital Territory)
Satyaki Banik (Bangladesh)
Nayab Ali (Islamabad)
Akash Nair (Kerala)
Khurram Waqas Malik (Lahore)
2UranusMinahil Ali (Islamabad)
Kevin Hung (Hong Kong)
Adhithyaa G. (Kerala)
M. Abdul Rehman (Lahore)
Nishita Kalpesh Pali (Pune)
3SaturnRashid Noor (Islamabad)
Mengke Li (Hong Kong)
Gaius G D’cruz (Kerala)
Mujtaba Ahmad Khan (Lahore)
Siddharth Saoji (Pune)

Young Professionals (YP) Track

The YP Track had 4 sessions and 1 contest. All sessions were well-attended via WebEx by registered delegates and a large number of members joined the sessions through live streaming of Facebook.

In the first session, Flavia Dinca, IEEE YP Chair introduced the IEEE Volunteering Platform, a new IEEE web system for volunteers. The history of development and some key features were explained. A live demonstration was also conducted to show how to use it, and questions from the floor were answered using a test user. The second session was about elevation to Senior Membership in which Mr. Amarnath Raja provided practical advice for becoming an IEEE Senior Member. Three more speakers shared their experience about why they became an IEEE Senior Member and what kind of preparation was needed.

The third session entitled “Entrepreneurship and Industry Engagement” was jointly held with the R10 Industry Relations Committee for panel discussion on cutting-edge technologies, IoT and 5G. Participants were informed how to connect such technologies to business as a start-up. One young entrepreneur as a keynote speaker shared the basics of entrepreneurship and experience of transitioning from a PhD student into an entrepreneur. Other invited keynote speakers highlighted challenges and opportunities related to the Internet of Things and 5G Technology.

The fourth YP session provided an opportunity to exchange information about activities of young professionals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In this YP session, the representatives of Section YP Affinity Groups shared their best practices with YP volunteers. The session focused on how to cope with pandemic crisis and make YP activity plans adjusting to the “new normal.”

The YP Track contest offered a networking opportunity for Young Professionals and strengthened YPs’ network on Facebook to communicate directly and casually. Each participant submitted his or her one-page proposal to the Facebook Group for this contest, and all the participants evaluated posts with each other. Full contest details are available at:

Winners’ one-page proposals of YP pitch contest.

Women In Engineering Track

R10 WIE Committee organized 4 sessions, some of which were exclusively designed for female engineers and professions to discuss strategies to deal with issues relevant to their career, challenges of work-life balance and scarcity of female leadership in academia and industry. In one session “WIE Best Practices, Challenges and Opportunities”, distinguished female speakers discussed best practices, challenges and opportunities from their professional career and how IEEE had helped them. Throughout the congress WIE volunteers were grouped in various teams to deliberate on key goals of WIE – Retention, Recognition, Mentorship, Leadership, Collaboration and came up with recommendations for R10 to implement in its WIE program. The exercise created an opportunity for discussion to inspire delegates and live audience for innovation, facilitated knowledge sharing and provided support through highly interactive sessions designed to initiate discussion and foster collaboration.

The session on Career Development for Mid-Career WIE focused on introducing professional career development skills for women who are in the middle of their careers. It aimed to enable women engineers and researchers to reach their full potential and shine. Dr. Lisa Lazareck-Asunta, Global WIE Chair and R10 Director, Prof. Akinori Nishihara also joined the session as panelists. The expert panel also discussed how to support and encourage the next generation of the WIE members to move forward together.

Life Members Track

Life Members (LM) Track achieved a new record of LMAG Chairs engagement across R10 for the first time. The IEEE R10 SYWL Virtual Congress provided a platform to Life Members to share their experience and expertise with fellow LMs and live audience. In addition, LMs were exposed to new technologies, IEEE vTools and Collabratec for continuing to pursue their technical and social interests. LM delegates and online audience were also informed about the significance of IEEE milestone program and the process of applying for milestone recognition. R10 LM Committee also organized a photography competition for Life Member delegates. The following LM sessions were organized during the 2020 R10 SYWL Virtual Congress.

LM Session 1: Sharing Success Stories – The session was held on 27th September 2020 and moderated by Dr. Leon Lei (Hong Kong Section) and Prof. Jong Chang Yi (Seoul Section). The following members shared their success story with participants:

  • Prof. Nim Cheung, IEEE Life Fellow from Hong Kong Section,
  • Mr. Hareendralal, IEEE Life Senior Member from Kerala Section,
  • Prof. Hyuckjae Lee, IEEE Life Member from Korea Section.

Each speaker highlighted achievements in their career and explained how they benefitted with their involvement with IEEE at various levels. 38 participants attended the session.

LM Session 2: LMAG Meet – The session on 28th September 2020 was inaugurated by Past R10 Director, Dr. Harbans L. Bajaj. 108 participants attended the LMAG Meet session. R10 Director, Prof. Akinori Nishihara also attended the session.

Mr. Asthana made a brief presentation on the activities of Life members at regional as well as MGA level. He also explained to the participants about the expectations from LMAGs by the Region and MGA Board. All sixteen LMAGs were invited to the meet but only 9 could attend. One common problem faced by most of the LMAGs was found to be poor or no response from LMs due to a variety of reasons. Consensus was reached for the following items:

  • To keep discussing such problems in all future meetings and try to work out a solution,
  • During every future SYWL, all LMAG Chairs would meet face-to-face,
  • All LMAG Chairs would meet once annually (virtually) to discuss their plan for the year. Most suitable time suggested was February,
  • Countries where there are more than 1 LMAG such as Australia, India and Japan will try to meet once a year inviting all LMAGs in that country.

LM Session 3: Life Member Activities – Prof. Akinori Nishihara, R10 Director inaugurated the session on 29th September 2020 and Director-Elect Mr. Deepak Mathur delivered the welcome address. 107 participants attended this LM session. R10 LM Chair Mr. Asthana delivered a talk and highlighted the following:

  • Detailed about LMs, LM Affinity Group, LMAG Management & Procedure, Finances and Role of Regional LM Coordinator at Region & MGA,
  • Functions of LM Committee,
  • Need of LMAGs and their importance/role,
  • Financial & administrative support to LMAGs,
  • Benefits for life members,
  • Relationship between R10 LM Committee & LMAGs,
  • Various Awards for LMs/LMAGs at Regional & MGA level etc.

LM Session 4: Vtools and IEEE Collabratec – The fourth LM session was held on 1st October 2020. The session was moderated by Mr. Sundaresh Subramaniam and inaugurated by SYWL General Chair, Dr. Zia Ahmed. 343 participants attended the session.

vTools training was delivered by Ms. Ewell Tan from the Singapore Office. Ms. Mehak Azeem presented the information about the IEEE Collabratec and explained its various features and benefits. She recommended everyone to use Collabratec to keep updated about IEEE news and discussions on various topics.

LM Session 5: IEEE Milestones –This LM session was held on 2nd October 2020. R10 Director, Prof. Akinori Nishihara presented an overview of the session and Director-Elect Mr. Deepak Mathur delivered the inaugural address. Professor Hajime Imai from Tokyo LMAG was the invited presenter and Prof. Naohisa Ohta, Tokyo LMAG moderated the session. 89 participants attended the session. Among the main points made during the session were:

  • Definition of IEEE Milestone – the achievement should be more than 25 years old. The milestone honours the achievement and NOT a person or place,
  • Procedure for Milestone approval. The proposer must be current IEEE Member, who needs to obtain sponsorship from appropriate IEEE organizational unit(s) including plaque & dedication ceremony. Normally, the time taken is from 9 to 15 months,
  • The proposer(s) obtains permission letter from owner of site where milestone plaque is to be placed. IEEE History Committee appoints an advocate to review the proposal,
  • On approval from the History Committee, it submits the milestone proposal to IEEE Board of Directors for final approval,
  • Sponsoring Organizational Unit(s) plan the dedication ceremony,
  • Japan had so far dedicated 34 Milestones with another 4 under various stages of approval. Some examples are the first word processor in Japanese, Electronic television, first direct broadcast satellite service, etc.
  • Tokyo Section has 20 Milestones, which is the highest among the Sections.

Education Activities Session

The Educational Activities session in the 2020 R10 SYWL Congress invited Professor Stephen Phillips, Vice-President of IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) and Mr. Jamie Moesch, Manager Director of IEEE EAB. They spoke on the development and updates of EAB programs, services and products, including IEEE Learning Network (ILN), eLearning modules, English for Technical Professionals and in particular, they introduced the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education, plus the new program IEEE Academy to be launched in 2021.

The session also focused on the IEEE R10 Reaching Locals project, which aims to reach out to local community with local languages in order to:

  • raise the awareness of IEEE’s brand and logo,
  • enhance public understanding of engineering and technology,
  • provide a trusted source of educational resources and services,
  • inspire a worldwide audience and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

Professor Takako Hashimoto (Japan), Dr. Nia Kurnianingsih (Indonesia), Dr. Amit Kumar (India), Professor Gao Yun An (China) and Dr. Paulina Chan (Hong Kong) presented the Reaching Locals activities at their local communities and discussed the lessons and best practices from their experience. The session also had active participation from the audience with Q&A and feedback.

Aravindhan Anbazhagan and Purva Ekatpure did an excellent job of assisting with the promotion and managing of the session. Their contributions to the event and to R10 EAC in 2019-2020 are greatly appreciated.

IEEE Standards Association

IEEE Standard Association (IEEE SA) session led by Mr. Sri Chandrasekaran from IEEE SA and moderated by Dr. Supavadee Aramvith, took place on 29th September 2020. The theme of IEEE SA session was impact of IoT in Smart Cities. Firstly, Mr. Sri Chandrasekaran gave brief introduction to IEEE SA.  There were four speakers for the session. Sandeep Agarwal from the Center for Development of Telematics gave a talk on “Mapping Public Wi-Fi Network Architecture to Smart Cities through IEEE P2872”.  Mr. Ashish Mahajan from IoT Sec Australia gave a talk entitled, “Understanding Security in the Medical Internet of Things”.  Mr. Nishant Krishna of TechMachinery Labs talked about “Bringing Cognition in the Edge using ROOF Computing – IEEE P1931”. Finally, Greg Adamson, Chair IEEE DIITA Program, talked about lost of the smart cities.  The session was well received with 25 participants and over 74 live viewers.

IEEE Humanitarian Activities Session

IEEE HAC Session on COVID-19 response, the first session to happen at IEEE R10 SYWL 2020 Virtual Congress, was held on 19th September 2020. The theme of the session was HAC response to COVID-19. Dr. Supavadee Aramvith (HAC Communications Chair) and Prof. Jing Dong (R10 HTA Chair) moderated the session. The panelists included Mei Lin Fung (HAC Assessment chair), Nirupama Prakash Kumar (HAC Project Chair), Simay Akar (SIGHT Communication Chair), and project leaders from Region 10 whose projects were supported by HAC/SIGHT COVID-19 Project Funds – Allya Koesoena (Indonesia Section), Maheshi Dissanayake (Sri Lanka Section), Suresh Merugu (Hyderabad Section), Jayakrishnan MC (Kerala Section). The session was well received with 63 participants and 680 live views.

Closing Ceremony

The Closing ceremony for the 2020 R10 SYWL Virtual Congress was held on 4th October 2020. General Chair, Dr. Zia Ahmed; General Co-Chair, Dr. Supavadee Aramvith, and Director-Elect, Mr. Deepak Mathur addressed the participants. Prof. Elmer Dadios, Chair for Awards & Recognition announced various award winners for 2020; Ms. Emi Yano and Dr. Saaveethya Sivakumar, winners for R10 SAC & WIE Contests; Prof. Takuo Suzuki, R10 YP Contest winner and Mr. R. K. Asthana, winners for R10 Life Member Photography Contest. R10 Director, Prof. Akinori Nishihara, the gave closing remarks. The last session of the congress was the Entertainment Program, which was organized by the Entertainment Committee and hosted by Mr. Muzamil Mahmood.

The R10 SYWL Virtual Congress was supported by:

  1. IEEE Entrepreneurship Committee
  2. IEEE Industry Engagement Committee
  3. IEEE Centre for Leadership Excellence
  4. IEEE HKN Group and
  5. R10 Industry Relations and Education Activities Committees