This document, as well as its photographs, has been taken from a compilation prepared by the Brazil Headquarters during the 2000-2008 period.
During the first decades of the 18th Century, engineers formed associations according to their specialization that worked separately in the countries of the Americas.
In 1904, four the American associations – the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the United Engineering Trustees joined with the main purpose of advancing engineering.
Later other groups, such as the Engineering Societies Library (to centralize the libraries of the four associations); the Engineering Foundation (to organize and financially support research in engineering); the National Research Council (federation of 26 associations whose purpose was to organize and evaluate research in the field of engineering); and the American Standards Association (federation of entities related to standards and employment) were created.
The American Engineering Council was created in 1920; it gathered several associations with the purpose of considering matters of common interest to the engineering professionals, including their relationships with the general public and the governments. At some point, this Council had 220 member organizations from 41 states of the United States and its headquarters were in Washington, DC. However, because of the Second World War and other difficulties, this group disappeared.
In 1942, with the support of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Engineering Joint Council was created; it not only allowed American engineers from different specializations to work together, but also created an international affairs commission to represent this country abroad. At the same time, similar federations were founded in Canada: the Canadian Engineering Societies Committee, the Engineering Institute of Canada, and the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, known today as Engineers Canada.
In Latin American, Engineer Francisco Marseillán of Argentina founded the Unión Suramericana de Asociaciones de Ingenieros (USAI) in May 1935 in Buenos Aires with representatives of Argentina (Eng. Francisco Marseillán), Brazil (Eng. Saturnino de Brito Filho), Chile (Eng. Francisco Mardones), Peru (Eng. José F. Balta), and Uruguay (Eng. José Buzzeti). Later on, engineering associations from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Venezuela joined USAI, thus having representatives from all countries of South America.
In 1936, there was a proposal to join the engineering associations of the Americas to USAI to create the Unión Latinoamericana de Ingenieros (ULAI). However, because of practical issues related to distance and organization, the proposal was never implemented. Then, in 1940, Eng. Luis Migone of Argentina tried to integrate the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to USAI to create the Pan American Federation of Engineering Associations (UPADI), but the Second World War prevented this from happening.
USAI has already organized four conventions between 1936 and 1941, when its activities got interrupted by the Second World War. It was not until 1947 that it restarted these meetings. During this period the attempts to create a group with representatives from all of the Americas – North, Central, and South continued.
Finally, in 1947, at the V Convention of USAI in Montevideo a resolution was passed for the Directorate to consult with the engineering associations of the countries of the Americas the possibility of creating a Pan-American Federation of Engineering Associations under the same guidelines as USAI. At this meeting, it was unanimously approved to move USAI’s headquarters to Rio de Janeiro. Eng. Saturnino de Brito Filho, president of FEBRAE (Federación Brasileña de Asociaciones de Ingenieros) was elected President of its Directorate as well.
In July 1949, important meeting of engineers were held in Brazil. The I Pan-American Engineering Congress was held in Rio de Janeiro; the VI Convention of USAI and the meeting for the creation of the Pan-American Committee on Technical Standards were held in Sao Paulo. At the USAI Convention, a proposal submitted by Eng. Saturnino de Brito Filho to send to the Pan-American Engineering Congress the statutes to create UPADI was approved.
At this Congress, on July 20, 1949, under the presidency of Eng. Saturnino de Brito Filho, UPADI’s Constitution Chart was signed by representatives of engineering associations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, the United States (as observer), Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. At this Congress, a diploma was awarded to Eng. Luis Migone designating him as originator of UPADI in recognition of his initiative to create this Federation.
As provided for in UPADI’s Constitution Chart, the headquarters and temporary commissions remained in Rio de Janeiro. FEBRAE’s then president, Eng. Saturnino de Brito Filho was appointed as Interim President. The commission was responsible for successfully organizing and holding the I UPADI Convention in Havana, Cuba, in April 1951.
During the Convention in Havana between April 19 and 22, 1951, UPADI’s Constituent Assembly was held chaired by Eng. Manuel J. Ponte. Eng. Saturnino de Britto Filho (Brazil) was elected honorary president. Organizations from several countries joined UPADI at the Havana Convention: Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, the United States, Honduras, Panama, and Puerto Rico. These new members were included as signatory members of the Constitutional Charter of Rio de Janeiro of 1949 and were granted the category of founding members. In 1951, it was determined that UPADI’s Headquarters would be seated in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the first years. The first International Directorate was set up by representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States, Honduras, and Uruguay. Eng. Giannastassio of Uruguay was elected President.