Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-2 - 87

lifegraduation
after

Vincenzo Marletta

IEEE Region 8: One Region, Thousands of Cultural Treasures

T

his issue of I&M Magazine is dedicated to IEEE Region
8 that includes Europe, the Middle-East and the African continent. Looking at the map reported on the
dedicated website (www.IEEER8.org), you can realize that it is
the largest IEEE Section.
If you think about it, it seems a little absurd: very large continents that have been
the cradles of human history, peoples
with different cultures and traditions are
grouped together in the same section, almost amalgamated to erase everything.
Actually, it is not so. I don't know what
the reasons led to bring the three continents
under the same IEEE Region, probably
for administrative issues, but they are certainly independent of cultural, historical
and political reasons. All of these aspects
are irrelevant and become secondary in our context, where
what matters is only the science, the research activities in the
topics of interest for the IEEE and in particular, in our case, in
the instrumentation and measurements. However, they make
all more interesting and for sure have an impact on how scientific activities are led, and this, many times, shines out clearly.
Formally one Region, but with an unnumerable amount of
cultural treasures.
I found that to deal with people from other countries, with
different cultures, to confront them produces invaluable cultural growth.
I can talk, in particular, about two of my experiences in two
different contexts where I had the possibility to meet people
from a different country or continent and enjoyed the opportunity to exchange a few words and opinions on non-technical
topics.
The first experience is related to attending and presenting
at international conferences, an experience made after graduation, first during my Ph.D. course and later while working
as a temporary researcher. I think participating in international contexts is one of the most amazing experiences I have
done.
Presenting my research is, for sure, an event generating
stress: to prepare the talk, to travel to reach the conference location, many times far from our countries and then including a

April 2020	

different time zone and the consequences of jet lag, and the tension that rises before the talk in front of an audience. Despite
this, it remains an interesting and unique experience.
During the conference, attendees are concentrated only on
the technical topics, and your country is no matter. What is important is your work, how you have conducted it, and your
results.
But, during the breaks and other moments like the gala dinner or when we are free from attending sessions, we have the
opportunity to meet other attendees and start conversations
that might begin with technical topics based on our mutual
knowledge and then lead us to learn about different cultures,
different habits and how they are changing in time, thus enlarging our knowledge and minds. I find it extremely amazing
and sometimes surprising.
The second experience I want to talk about started a few
years ago. In fact, only recently, the university where I work
has activated degree courses in the English language and has
started to attract foreign students, mainly from Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and find the
Middle East.
This has, inevitably, led to a change in many respects. The
students take their habits with their national colleagues and
try to keep up with their mutual interests as a group. So, for example, on Sunday morning, you can watch cricket matches in
the teachers' parking area. Unimaginable until a few years ago!
Before, we never saw a cricket match in our city.
Or again, you can taste typical sweets that they bring with
them from their country, specifically to share them with colleagues and professors. In this way, as an example, I tasted
typical Indian sweets like the Kaju Pista roll or Cashew Pistachio rolls, otherwise unknown for me.
After graduation, some of the international students continue to carry out research in our laboratories for a period, thus
increasing the opportunities for discussing the habits and customs of our own countries and in my opinion, mutual growth.
All of this, however, while technical activities continue with
the expected methodological and scientific rigor.
Therefore, it does not matter whether different continents
are grouped into a single Region, provided that every group of
people who live in these lands continues to maintain their own
culture and traditions. Because there is nothing more beautiful
continued on page 104

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	87
1094-6969/20/$25.00©2020IEEE


http://www.IEEER8.org

Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-2

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