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CIE 2000 Flash Back

  
By Benjamin K. Cheng

About the Author
Benjamin K. Cheng is currently CEO of ABC Digital Electronics, Inc. Ben was the 1969/1972/1973 CIE President, 1971 CIE Service Award Recipient, and currently serves as a member of the CIE-USA/GNYC board.

 

 

1. History in Brief

Prior to 1905, there were no Chinese engineers in China! All of the major projects were done by foreign engineers. The first engineering project designed and managed by Chinese engineers was in 1905, when American educated Zhan Tien-You 詹天佑 headed the building of Jing-Zhang railroad 京張鐵路 connecting Peking 北京 (now Beijing) and Chang-Jar-Ko 張家口 (now Zhang-Jia-Kou).

Recognizing the need for engineers to help modernize China, more students were send abroad to study science and engineering. In 1917, the Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE) was founded in US by a group of able, dedicated and far-sighted Chinese engineers. These charter members were graduate students from American colleges and/or were receiving practical training in American railroads and industries. Early membership totaled about 80. When the majority of these members returned home to serve their country, the main organization moved to China with them, and their remaining counterparts in America became a chapter. This status remained through two world wars until 1949.

During 1917-1923, the CIE headquarters was located in Shanghai, while chapters in Beijing and Tienjin were established. The first convention was held in Shanghai on 1923. Membership by then grew to 350. Membership growth reached 1500 in 1930.

The Chinese Institute of Engineers merged with Chung-Hwa Engineers (founded in 1910) in August 1931, at a combined engineering convention held in Nanking. The headquarters was then relocated to Nanking
南京, the national capital. The post merger enrollment reached 2,169 members.

The organization remained active during the second world war in Chungking, re-established the convention in 1938, and formed chapters in Kuming, Chengdu, Kweiyang, Lanchou, Kweiling and Chungking. During the period of Japanese invasion of China, the engineers provided the needed technical services to the government to defend China.

The Taiwan CIE-ROC was re-established in March 1950. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary in 1960, (adopted the founding date of Jan 1910 of the Chung-Hwa Engineers) membership count was more than 3000.

The CIE-NY was re-activated as an independent entity in July 1953 in New York City by a number of accomplished engineers in the U.S. Subsequently the institute was registered in the State of New York in 1963 as the Chinese Institute of Engineers, New York, Inc., a tax-exempt non-profit organization. The CIE-NY and CIE-ROC co-founded the Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar (METS) in 1966. The cooperation among the engineers in ROC and USA successfully helped the country in establishing the infrastructure for industrialization, promoting industrial research and development of advanced technologies. Over the years, the METS has introduced many advanced technologies to the ROC and set up the stage for the Taiwan microelectronics miracles.

The CIE/USA National Council, a federation organization of CIE/USA, was established in 1986 with the Greater New York and San Francisco Bay Area Chapters as its founding chapters. In the following years, the National Council was expanded to include Seattle Chapter, OCEESA Chapter, Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter and New Mexico Chapter.

One of CIE/USA’s most significant activities over the years has been the continuation of the Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar (METS), co-sponsoring the bi-annual events with CIE/ROC. In light of the success of the METS, in 1993 the CIE/USA established another bi-annual seminar series, SATEC (Sino-American Technology and Engineering Conference), with the People's Republic of China, with the same objectives as METS. The 1993, 1995 and 1997 SATEC conferences were successful and well received.

The SATEC is holding its fourth Conference in 1999, while the METS had held its 17th Seminar in 1998.

 
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