IEEE SA Standards Exchange Fellowship Program: Building Connections Across Borders


IEEE SA held its annual Standards Exchange Fellowship program from 4-8 November 2019 alongside the IEEE Standards Board meeting series in Piscataway, USA, giving program participants from national and regional standards bodies and ministries an opportunity to learn about IEEE’s open standards process, as well as an opportunity to network with the IEEE SA standards community.

By attending the IEEE SA Standards Board (IEEE SASB) meeting series, the IEEE SA Standards Exchange Fellowship program participants gain an overview of how IEEE oversees and coordinates the development and revision of IEEE global standards. Directly engaging with IEEE standards experts on technical topics of interest fosters an understanding of IEEE and its scope of work, and provides a deeper level of engagement with IEEE SA going forward.

Employees of the national standards bodies of South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe, as well as employees of national ministries from Egypt and Kazakhstan participated in the program: Mai Elhafez, Egyptian Electricity Holding Company – Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy; Eve Gadzikwa, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ); Alfiya Kazi, National Information and Communication Holding, JSC “Zerde”; Mogomotsi Motaung, South African Bureau of Standards (SASB); and Akif Sesli, Turkish Standards Institution (TSE).

2019 Standards Exchange Fellowship Program Participants

“The IEEE SA Standards Exchange Fellowship Program gave me an opportunity to learn how the IEEE SA has overcome some of the challenges that standards developing organizations face, and how a global organization as big as IEEE SA can be nimble in addressing the different technologies as they evolve,” said Motaung.

“I learned a lot including the IEEE standards development process, how new technologies are standardized, the coordination with national or regional and international standards bodies, and about IEEE standards education,” said Elhafez.

“I am very pleased that I am one of the IEEE SA Standards Exchange program participants and was able to attend. I was very impressed with the support and encouragement from various volunteers and professionals, their dedication and time given to this purely volunteer business,” Sesli noted.

2019 Standards Exchange Fellowship Program Participants

“Usually, in National Standards Bodies and the standardization world, senior professionals, like government officials, are often too busy to pay attention to standardization work and events. IEEE SA is very fortunate to have such champions from within various backgrounds and organizations. I witnessed that they are all extremely well prepared and very professional,” Sesli added. “Driven thoroughly by market, real openness and inclusiveness of volunteers, I think, this is what makes IEEE a unique global standards body serving not only for its members but for the benefit of all humankind that discerns from the others, as well as, dedication and professionalism of its members and staff. Thank you very much.”

Since its inception in 2016, the annual IEEE Standards Exchange Fellowship program has grown to welcome more participants as it continues to contribute successfully to an exchange about mutual standards development processes, and to finding additional avenues for future engagement opportunities.

“The program was very useful for me, as I learned about the development, implementation, and standards approval processes. There were very interesting topics on blockchain, IoT, 5G technology and smart village,” said Kazi. “Thank you very much for organizing such a program! We will work on implementing the gained experience in Kazakhstan and hope for further cooperation with IEEE.”

2019 Standards Exchange Fellowship Program Participants

Gadzikwa notes, “Eleven years in standardization – I wish I knew then what I know now. The IEEE SA Standards Exchange Fellowship program was an awesome experience for me to leverage on global standards work. I recommend more CEOs from National Standards Bodies to take this program.”

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