Dubai, UAE, 1 May 2019: ASHRAE Falcon Chapter (AFC), last evening in Dubai, celebrated the 15th anniversary of its formation, with past, present and future presidents speaking fondly on the significant impact the chapter has had on the region and afar. Also in attendance at the event were representatives from UNEP (UN Environment) and the HVACR industry, including Dubai-headquartered District Cooling utility company, Empower.
Bassam Elassaad, AFC President from 2003 to 2005, spoke glowingly of the initial days of the chapter, characterized by members willing to give their time to work for the benefit of the chapter and by an economy that was booming and filling the air with optimism. “We also had challenges,” he said, “and those gave us the impetus to start the chapter.” He reminisced on how one day, a young engineer walked up to him during a meeting and asked for help in identifying existing CFC chillers in the country. “The engineer was Ayman El-Talouny of UNEP, and with that started a partnership between ASHRAE and UNEP.”
El-Talouny, Regional Montreal Protocol Coordinator, and Coordinator, International Partnerships, Ozonation Programmed at UNEP (UN Environment), speaking on the occasion, said the celebration had brought a flood of memories. He described the AFC as having had a big impact on all chapters in the region. “Since its inauguration,” he said, the ASHRAE Falcon Chapter has set the bar high on how a chapter should operate, in terms of successful implementation of activities and engagement with government and other stakeholders. It’s a good lesson for other chapters.” The Chapter, El-Talouny said, has also taken a lead in signing some innovative agreements. “I would like to bring to the memory of those who were not here that the ASHRAE-UNEP cooperation started here in the Emirates,” he said. “Thanks to an enlightened vision, they (the members of the Chapter) picked up the idea, and in 2005, we signed the first cooperation agreement between UNEP and ASHRAE at a regional level. Two years later, we signed an agreement with ASHRAE at a global level. Subsequently, ASHRAE signed a pledge to be part of UNEP’s ‘District Cooling Initiative in Cities’ programmed.”
ASHRAE, he said, is taking a lead and motivating people in several parts of the world. We are seeing a lot of emerging issues and dynamics happening around the world, and we always look at issues from the lens of engineering. ASHRAE, through participating with non-engineering bodies, he further said, is looking at the situation through a political lens. This, he added, is the language the government can understand, the language policy makers can understand and, thereby, implement programmers.
Farooq Mehboob, Vice President, ASHRAE, and representing the body’s leadership in the United States for the 15th anniversary celebration, said the ASHRAE Falcon Chapter is a distinguished one for its visionary and dynamic leadership. He praised the initiative of Dr Ahmed Ala’a Eldin Mohamed, Director and Regional Chair, Region At Large, ASHRAE, and other leaders in the region for instituting a body of Regional Distinguished Lecturers that would be available for all chapters as a visionary step. He also praised the Chapter for twice organizing the Chapter Regional Conferences. “Bassel Anbari (AFC President from 2005 to 2007) and Dr Ala’a did an outstanding job in organizing them,” he said. “They (the CRCs) ran like clockwork.”
Anbari, who in his individual capacity has donated over USD 15,000 for the promotion of research by the Chapter, said that ASHRAE was dear to his heart, as it guided his career to where he wanted to be and where he is today. Dr Mohamed, describing the AFC as the second biggest out of the United States, said it comprised a beautiful mix of professionals from different sectors, including the industry and academia. “Till now,” he said, “the ASHRAE Falcon Chapter is one of the most active chapters, not only in the Region At Large but also all over the world.” An example of this, he added, was the establishment of the Global Training Center in Dubai in September 2017, which he said, had been possible, thanks to the support of the members and the Board of Governors of the Chapter.