GEARE celebrates 20 years in Karlsruhe, Germany

The Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) 20th anniversary celebration was an inspiring weekend full of reconnecting, networking, learning and immersion in German culture. The weekend started off with lab tours at our host site, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), where participants learned about the latest research happening on campus. The GEARE reunion main event held on Friday afternoon, provided talks highlighting the program’s diverse history with remarks from founders and key players such as Prof. Thomas Hirth (KIT’S Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs), Prof. Eckhard Groll (Purdue’s Head of Mechanical Engineering), Prof. Norbert Burkardt (KIT's Global Design Team Professor), Prof. Dan Hirleman (Purdue’s Executive Director for International Advancement), Prof. Sigmar Wittig (KIT President Emeritus) and Tom Malott (Purdue Alum and Retired President and CEO of Siemens Energy and Automation). Participants also heard a special welcome message from German Consul General Wolfgang Mössinger.

Joe Tort, Associate Director for OPP, alongside Marcel Nöller, from KIT’s Institute of Project Engineering (IPEK) served as the event’s hosts and Masters of Ceremonies. On Saturday, participants engaged in "World Cafe" style programming where facilitators led intercultural learning-based workshops and conversation, simulating activities GEARE students participate in. The wealth of alumni experience combined with the enthusiasm of current GEARE students from Purdue and KIT led to an exciting learning opportunity for all involved.

Following the reunion celebration, participants enjoyed a group barbecue and recreational activities such as brewery tours and hiking in the Black Forest of Southwest Germany. Thanks to the 180+ Purdue GEARE and AK GEARE alum, faculty, students, and industry partners who traveled to Germany and made this a truly special event. Many thanks to our wonderful friends at KIT for hosting and for the great partnership with Purdue's College of Engineering. OPP looks forward to hosting the 25-year celebration on campus in 2028.