Sir John's speech, 'Civil Engineers: Shaping ourselves and our world', examined how the civil engineering profession and ICE itself can best fulfil their roles in a fast changing world. He outlined that the Institution must be relevant and valued by both its members and society, but that that value will be perceived differently according to different communities' demands and expectations.
Sir John said, "The UAE has demonstrated great openness to innovation and it is apt to be able to deliver my message to one of the world's great engineering universities here in the country. Civil engineering is the fundamental enabler of civilised life, and the profession must get better at fostering greater innovation in our industry, and we must use every opportunity to encourage young people to join the profession."
The Presidential Address which was hosted by Heriot Watt University Dubai Campus was attended by students from Heriot Watt, British University in Dubai, University of Bolton Ras Al Khaimer, Manipal University Dubai Campus and Amity University. Sir John also inaugurated two of the three first Students Chapters in the Middle East namely Manipal and Heriot Watt Dubai Campus.