Burke and Birkett get special awards at IDA congress

The International Desalination Association (IDA) presented seven Presidential Awards at the end of its World Congress in Tianjin, China on 24 October 2013.

In addition, IDA presented a special All Presidents Award to Patricia Burke, the association’s secretary general and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr Jim Birkett in recognition of his extensive contributions in the fields of desalination and water reuse.

The Presidential Awards are conferred upon individuals and organizations whose work on behalf of IDA and the desalination industry demonstrates outstanding achievement, leadership and vision. This year’s recipients were:

Khoo Teng Chye and Prof Wang Shi Chang in recognition of their outstanding work as the co-chairpersons of the 2013 IDA World Congress Technical Program. This was the largest and most comprehensive program in IDA World Congress history.

Guillaume Clairet for his work as co-chair of IDA’s Humanitarian Outreach Committee and his vision, dedication and outstanding efforts in organizing IDA’s highly successful conference Water Recycling and Desalination for the Oil & Gas Industry. Presented in Banff, Canada, in May 2013, this conference raised more than US$ 250,000 to support water-related humanitarian projects.

Michel Canet in recognition of his long-term and outstanding dedication and commitment to IDA and for his clear, professional and proactive performance as IDA’s treasurer for the 2011-2013 Term.

Ghassan Ejjeh in recognition of his significant contribution to IDA’s development during his presidency and for his years of commitment to IDA’s goals and mission, particularly as an advocate of international cooperation while serving on the IDA board. His commitment continues today through his ongoing and active participation in IDA programs.

MASDAR, the development company set up by the Abu Dhabi government, for conceiving a milestone initiative on low-energy footprint, renewable desalination and for its focus on bridging the gap between research and commercialization of new desalination technologies. This visionary initiative has established a framework to leverage a new generation of low-energy footprint, more sustainable and environmentally friendly desalination.

PUB, Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, for its longstanding commitment to the sustainability of water and desalination, and in recognition of the special relationship between PUB and IDA, reflected in ongoing collaboration on many important events and initiatives. These include organization of the 2005 World Congress in Singapore; PUB’s leadership as the first host agency for IDA’s Fellowship Award; the successful launch of the IDA Desalination Academy; and continuing cooperation on Singapore International Water Week.

Pat Burke became the first recipient of an All Presidents Award, presented on the occasion of IDA’s 40th Anniversary on behalf of IDA’s membership and all IDA presidents, current and past, in recognition of her enduring commitment to the organization. Burke has been dedicated to IDA since its inception, and the award acknowledges her many contributions, leadership, and passion towards the mission of IDA and its developments, achievements and success.

Jim Birkett is widely considered one of the desalination industry’s most respected professionals, with more than four decades of experience in the study of desalination, advanced water treatment, and membrane separation industries and technologies. He was the first elected president of IDA and later served as treasurer and was a director for many years. From 2009-2013, he served as chairman of the editorial boards for the IDA Journal of Desalination and Water Reuse. He has also served on the editorial boards of numerous other desalination publications, including D&WR, and was a contributing editor to the Encyclopedia of Desalination and Water Resources.