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14th Brunel International Lecture Series: South Asia

Event organised by ICE

27 February 2024

This event has now ended


ICE, together with the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), invite you to the South Asia region lecture of our 14th Brunel International Lecture series building on the theme of resilience and sustainability in infrastructure development.   

Chaired by ICE vice president David Porter, the lecture will focus on challenges, opportunities, engineering solutions, and best practice examples specific to South Asia.

The keynote address will be given by Aromar Revi, founding director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) - India’s prospective Institution of Eminence and interdisciplinary national University.

Nearly 25% of the world's population, over 1.9 billion people, call South Asia home. The region stretches from the rugged landscapes of Afghanistan and Nepal on the northern border to the dominant superpower of India, to the rainforests of Sri Lanka and the atoll reefs of the Maldives. So how does a region so diverse in geography, climate and political stability build a resilient and sustainable future together?

Despite its size, the effects of a rapidly changing climate are felt right across the region. From glacial retreat in the mountainous regions in the north, increasing severity of flooding in Bangladesh and Pakistan to rising sea levels in island nations such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka to ever-increasing temperatures in central India. The region is also prone to natural disasters with devastating effects on the population and infrastructure. 

Join us at this lecture as we explore subjects including: 

  • Nature-based solutions and indigenous engineering solutions
  • Water management
  • Coastal communities and sea level rise
  • Engineering education and skills

We will also identify how engineers can support positive change by influencing policy, improving communication and cooperating across regions to share knowledge. 

David Porter will moderate an interactive discussion with an expert panel including: 

  • Farah Kabir, country director, ActionAid Bangladesh
  • Monika Nair, AtkinsRéalis fellow and associate director, ENZ, AtkinsRéalis
  • Professor Kapil Gupta, professor of civil engineering, IIT Bombay and Leverhulme visiting fellow, UCL

The 14th Brunel International Lecture Series shines a spotlight on equitable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure challenges around the world, providing a platform for dialogue with high-profile leaders and exploring the practical engineering issues involved in tackling climate change at the local level.

To catch up on any of the previous lectures, please visit the ICE 14th Brunel International Lecture Series page.

Sponsored by:



AtkinsRéalis is a world-leading professional services and project management company dedicated to engineering a better future for our planet and its people.

With support from:

International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI)

International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI)

This coalition continues to broaden participation across other stakeholder communities to accelerate innovation, adoption and scaling of strategic resilient and sustainable infrastructure solutions built upon a commitment to tangible and collaborative action.


12:30 - 12:35

Welcome by David Porter, vice president – learning society, Institution of Civil Engineers

12:35 - 12:55

Keynote address by Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)

12:55 - 13:15

Introduction to panellists and panellist remarks

13:15 - 13:55

Panel discussion and Q&A

13:55 - 14:00

Closing remarks by David Porter, vice president – learning society, Institution of Civil Engineers


Event close


David Porter

David Porter

Institution of Civil Engineers

vice president

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David Porter

David Porter is the Vice President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and will, subject to interim annual election by Council, become President in November 2025. As VP he has responsibility for the ICE Learning Society activity.

He is Director of Engineering and Services with the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in their Transport and Road Asset Management core group, which is the roads authority for Northern Ireland.

David is the director of engineering within the Department for Infrastructure, In this position, David is the chief highways engineer and the head of the civil engineering profession within the Northern Ireland civil service. . Previously, he was the Chief Executive of Rivers Agency, the flood defence and drainage authority for Northern Ireland.

David is a Chartered civil engineer, a Fellow of ICE, and has served on its Council, and on numerous other committees and Panels.

Aromar Revi

Aromar Revi

Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)


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Aromar Revi

Aromar Revi is the founding director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) - India’s prospective Institution of Eminence and interdisciplinary national University. He is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and the Law and Management schools of the University of Delhi. 

With 40 years of local to global interdisciplinary experience, Aromar is one of the world’s leading experts on global environmental change, especially climate change. He is a member of key international Commissions on Water, Climate change, Health, Sustainable Development and Cities.

He has led major practice, consulting and research assignments in India and abroad; has deep governance, institutional development, management and implementation experience, across public, private, civil society and academic institutions; is a widely cited scholar across multiple fields and has lectured and taught at 100 of the world’s leading universities and think tanks.

Farah Kabir

Farah Kabir

ActionAid Bangladesh

country director

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Farah Kabir

Farah Kabir is a feminist and justice advocate, working as a development practitioner for over 30 years, with a focus on climate justice particularly for those on the frontline of climate change. 

Through her innovative initiatives and inclusive approach, she has led ActionAid Bangladesh for the last 16 years. Farah has been the global board chair for GNDR for two terms. She is on the advisory board of Platform for Disaster Displacement. She is the regional representative for CANSA and contributes to many national and global networks and platforms. She has been a veteran participant at UNFCCC CoP processes since 2007.

Monika Nair

Monika Nair

ENZ AtkinsRéalis

associate director

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Monika Nair

Monika Nair is an AtkinsRéalis Fellow for landscape architecture – a lifetime honour for professional excellence -- and she currently heads Engineering Net Zero (ENZ) in India and leads into innovation for AtkinsRéalis’ Global ENZ program. She is an award-winning chartered landscape architect with extensive experience as a landscape architect, urbanist and public realm designer across urban development projects in the UK, India, Middle East and the APAC.

With over 20 years of experience in the field, she has conceptualised and built large urban developments with the core philosophy of sustainability, well-being, and genius loci. For her, a city is a cumulative organism which functions together as a whole through its systemic parts whether it is people, culture, infra-structure, or economics. 

Prof Kapil Gupta

Prof Kapil Gupta

IIT Bombay


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Prof Kapil Gupta

Professor Kapil Gupta is Leverhulme visiting professor at UCL and professor of civil engineering at IIT Bombay. He has worked on several international research projects addressing flood risk reduction, resilience, and mitigation in urban areas. His work emphasises transferring academic research into the field and incorporating state-of-the-art international practices into national manuals and guidelines of India.

He has advised the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, and Chennai on mitigating urban flooding. His most recent projects focus on maintaining the functionality of critical infrastructure in Mumbai during intense rainfall under climate change. He is currently conducting a British Council project with UCL to develop course material for disaster resilience engineering education and a multi-hazard disaster early warning system

For more information please contact:

Paula Dinu