Prepared by: Fouad Karouta, Chair for ACT Section

The ACT Section (http://ieeeact.org/) was established in 1988 with its membership being around 500. This membership base is essentially due to a high membership among employees of Government agencies located in Canberra.

In 2019 the ACT Section held 5 administrative meetings and all the Chapters and Groups maintained the status of “Active” with a minimum of two reported technical activities. The total technical activities of the Section totalled 34. Here, we need to highlight the extraordinary effort of one Chapter: the SMC Chapter chaired by Dr. Daoyi Dong, who organised and reported an impressive 14 technical activities (seminars), likely an all-time record in the Section or at least in the last 11 years. The Section is very proud of receiving the R10 award of “Best Small Section” in 2019. This is an excellent stimulus for our volunteers to keep up with the good work.

This year was a particular year in Australia with drought and bush fires severely hitting the country (December 2019 to February 2020), in particular the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory regions, with bush fires menacing Canberra around the Christmas/New Year period rendering the atmosphere unbreathable and forcing the population to use masks for protection. In January 2020 Canberra was hit by a severe hail storm causing numerous damages in properties and cars (thousands of cars). Then came the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting all socio-economical activities in the country (and the world) forcing all events and meetings to be carried out online from April 2020 onwards.  

Picture 1- Lake Burley Griffin and Canberra CBD from the Telstra Tower

With restrictions easing in the last quarter of 2020, the ANU Student Branch organised a hiking tour to the summit of the Black Mountain for ANU students on 1st November 2020. Hiking started after a walkthrough of Australian National Botanic Gardens, followed by visiting the Telstra tower that offers an impressive view of Canberra (see Picture 1). Aside from this physical activity, the goal of this event was to give IEEE students the opportunity to get to know each other and thereby strengthen the IEEE community.

Similarly, the AGM was held as a live meeting on 26th November 2020 with over 40 members attending the event, some with their partners and children. At the AGM, the ExCom 2021 was elected. Picture 2 (top) depicts a part of the AGM gathering, and (bottom) shows the outgoing Section Chair Fouad Karouta with the incoming Section Chair Ambarsih Natu (seated).

Picture 2- Part of the gathering at the Black Mountain Peninsula (top) and transfer of power between outgoing and incoming Section Chair.