The International Engineering Alliance (IEA) seeks to improve engineering education and
competence globally. It fulfils this mission through its constituents: education agreements that are concerned with standards, best practice accreditation processes and mutual recognition of accredited engineering programmes and agreements for defining and recognising professional competence.
The oldest constituent of the IEA, the Washington Accord dating from 1989, is concerned with
mutual recognition among its signatories of accredited educational programmes designed to provide the educational foundations for professional engineers. Similarly, the Sydney Accord (2001) and Dublin Accord (2002) are concerned with programmes providing the education foundation for engineering technologists and engineering technicians respectively.
Three IEA constituents are concerned with competence standards for and mutual recognition of
experienced engineering professionals. The International Professional Engineers Agreement (IPEA) first came into existence as the Engineers Mobility Forum in 1997. Also concerned with professional engineers is the APEC Engineer Agreement, similar to and with overlapping membership to the IPEA but linked to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. The International Engineering Technologist Agreement (IETA), starting as the Engineering Technologists Mobility Forum in 2001, is concerned with standards for and mobility of engineering technologists.
This work traces the historical development starting with the founding of the Washington Accord flowing into the establishment of the subsequent agreements listed above. We trace the original context and motivation of each agreement, the underlying model, how each evolved, important developments beyond the initial focus on mutual recognition and the present contribution in the modern engineering world. We capture the thinking, goals, methods and achievements of the constituents and the IEA.
The operation of the educational Accords has evolved from broad judgements of substantial
equivalence in the original Washington Accord to a formalised approach with Graduate Attribute
exemplar standards, defined procedures implemented in robust reviews for admission as a signatory and to maintain signatory status.
A second thrust of the work is the development of the IEA itself. Prior to 2007, each agreement was serviced by a member acting in a voluntary capacity for a period of up to four years. In 2007, the six agreements decided to fund a common secretariat which soon became known collectively with the six agreements as the IEA. The IEA, as grouping of authoritative agreements concerned with educational standards and professional competence for engineering professionals, came to be regarded by the wider engineering community as an authoritative body on engineering education and professional standards. In 2014 the IEA adopted a new governance document to give effect to this role.
Repositioning the mobility agreements took place via their 2012 constitutions. The motivation for shifting the prime objective from facilitating mobility to benchmarking professional competency standards is examined.
A full account of History of the IEA has been documented in 'A History of the International Engineering Alliance and its Constituent Agreements.
You can download the IEA: An Overview booklet which provides a current snapshot of the orgnaisation.