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On the morning of July 31st, the ILEE Summer Program with a project theme of "Seismic Resilience for Cities and Structures" was inaugurated with Grand Opening Ceremony at Tongji University, Shanghai, China. As a prestigious academic institution committed to advancing research, education, and innovation in earthquake engineering, the International Joint Research Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering (ILEE) at Tongji University was established in 2015 to serve as a platform for international collaboration and academic exchanges in earthquake engineering research. After five years of dedicated research, and a subsequent three year pause due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the ILEE is now rebooting with the vision of establishing a next generation center of excellence that delves deeper into seismic engineering and fortifies its foundation.

The highly anticipated International Summer School Program commenced today with a spectacular opening ceremony in Room B504, Civil Engineering Building. The ceremony witnessed an esteemed gathering of distinguished guests, including Prof. Xianglin Gu, Vice President of Tongji University; Prof. Xilin Lu, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chair of Scientific Committee of ILEE; Prof. Ying Zhou, Dean of Civil Engineering and Director of ILEE; Prof. Richard Henry from The University of Auckland, New Zealand; Prof. Antonio Bobet from Purdue University, USA; Vice directors of ILEE, namely Prof. Haitao Yu, Prof. Yan Xu, and Prof. Yiqiu Lu; Prof. Zhiguang Zhou, Chair of Department of Disaster Mitigation for Structures, College of Civil Engineering; as well as scholars and students from around the world. The event began with a warm welcome address by Prof. Xianglin Gu, who emphasized the critical importance of seismic resilience in the face of increasing urbanization and potential seismic risks. Prof. Xilin Lu and Prof. Ying Zhou also gave commencement speeches, expressing great gratitude to the participants as well as their expectations for the campers.

“Earthquake is one of the most destructive natural disasters, and it brings significant losses to human society. We, humans, are constantly struggling with earthquake disasters, and earthquake engineering is an eternal subject of human survival and development. We dream that one day we can truly build earthquake resilient societies that make people feel safe even when a major earthquake happens. That is our dream, and you, all the students, will make this happen on that day.”, shared by Prof. Xianglin Gu.

“The goal of the summer school is to provide an opportunity for students around the world to learn cutting-edge knowledge in earthquake engineering. The theme of this summer school is Resilience for Cities and Structures. Developing “resilient cities” has become one of China’s national strategic plans. I believe many other counties are also putting great effort into “resilient cities”. Earthquake resilience could be ensured to fulfill the goal of “resilient cities” and a lot can be done to improve earthquake resilience.”, said by Prof. Xilin Lu.

"This unique educational initiative is a two-week course-based program, organized by Tongji University, aiming to bring together aspiring engineers, researchers, and professionals from around the world to provide state-of-the-art knowledge in seismic resilience for cities and structures and bolster global efforts towards building safer, more resilient cities and structures. By empowering our participants with the latest research, technological advancements, and best practices, we hope to make significant strides in minimizing the devastating impacts of earthquakes on cities and infrastructure worldwide." said by Prof. Ying Zhou.

The ILEE summer program 2023 will span from Jul. 31 to Aug.12, and encompass an intensive curriculum comprising expert lectures, on-site visits, and real-world case studies. During the program, participants will take entry-level seismic resilience graduate courses taught by elite earthquake engineering researchers from around the world and also have the privilege of witnessing cutting-edge demonstrations of seismic testing facilities and advanced simulation technologies at the State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering at Tongji University. By connecting with people from across the globe, the campers will gain a deeper understanding of infrastructure earthquake engineering, master practical skills, and build a professional international network.

In addition to the academic program, the summer school organizers have planned various cultural exchange events, sightseeing tours, and networking opportunities, facilitating a rich experience of global camaraderie and understanding among the participants. Participants will have firsthand experience engaging with the local engineering communities, exploring Chinese culture, and immersing in the fast infrastructure development.

With the successful conclusion of the opening ceremony, the ILEE summer school on "Seismic Resilience for Cities and Structures" officially kicked off. We believe that in the next two weeks, the trainees will give full play to their wisdom and creativity, jointly exploring new ways of enhancing urban earthquake resilience, contributing to our urban safety construction, and paving the way for next-generation earthquake engineering solutions. By empowering future leaders and professionals with the knowledge and skills to tackle seismic challenges head-on, this initiative of the ILEE Summer Program promises to make a lasting impact in the world of earthquake engineering.