Keynote Speakers

Marc Ballouz

Forensic Engineering Marriage Between Theory and Practice

Marc Ballouz obtained his Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from the American University of Beirut AUB, Lebanon in 1987. He worked for his dad Joseph Ballouz, who is a well know engineer and contractor for two years, then moved to the USA to pursue his graduate studies and obtained there his MS & PhD degrees in geotechnical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1994 with a 4.0 GPA.

Dr. Ballouz enjoyed teaching soil mechanics and foundation engineering courses at the Lebanese American University (LAU), Notre Dame University (NDU), and the Lebanese University (UL), in Lebanon for more than 10 years.  Dr. Ballouz stays up to date attending conferences regularly, presenting his work, and continues to publish technical papers about deep foundations, landslides, and some interesting articles about general geotechnics.  He is frequently invited to give lectures and seminars at renowned universities in the USA, Lebanon, and other countries,  about Lessons Learned in geotechnical engineering.

Dr. Ballouz has been very active with ISSMGE as the Vice Chair of the Innovation & Development Committee (IDC), then for 2 years (2011 – 2013) he led the PRC (Public Relations Committee) of ISSMGE. In a relatively short period of time, PRC accomplished major achievements in promoting Geotechnical Engineering worldwide. During the 18th International conference on Soil Mechanics & Geotechnical Engineering in Paris, in September 2013, Dr. Ballouz received the ISSMGE Outstanding Public Relations Award. Dr. Ballouz is presently one of the 12 Board Members of ISSMGE, that has about 30,000 geotechnical engineers under its wings.

Dr. Marc Ballouz who is the President of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and  Geotechnical Engineering, CEO of IGM and Senior Lecturer at Texas State University. Dr. Ballouz served on the Geo-Institute of ASCE Board of Governors and has been a consultant in many countries around the world.

Lyesse Laloui

Numerical Analysis of Multiphysical Processes in the Vicinity of Nuclear Waste Repository

Prof. Lyesse Laloui is a full professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL. He is a Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences member and the European Vice President of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). In 2022, Lyesse Laloui appeared in the Ranking of Top 1000 Scientists in the field of Engineering and Technology, released by
His research and exploration of the mechanics of geomaterials and other geology have significantly contributed to our understanding of the physical mechanisms of these materials. He has developed innovative and sustainable technologies for today and future generations. His efforts in areas such as sustainability, climate change, renewable energy, and the optimization of natural resources have been recognized and awarded by the European Research Council with an Advanced ERC Grant for his project BIOGEOS (BIO-mediated GEO-material Strengthening), followed by an ERC Proof of Concept Grant (PoC) in 2020.

His outstanding contributions to the field of geomechanics were recognized with two honoris causa from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in 2022. 

Ali Hakan ÖREN

Performance Evaluation of Impermeable Barriers in Geotechnical Engineering: Hydraulic Conductivity Tests

A. Hakan Ören got B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Dokuz Eylül University in 1998 and got M.Sc. in 2001 and Ph.D. in 2007 in Geotechnical Engineering Program at Dokuz Eylül University. During his graduate study, he worked in the field of Environmental Geotechnology, specializing in the effects of water chemistry on soil properties, investigating the use of bentonite amended mixtures as a barrier, and determining the volumetric shrinkage of compacted soil samples using image processing technique. He then went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison for one year as a postdoctoral visiting fellow. He involved in projects where researches were conducted on the use of geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) as an impermeable barrier and organo-bentonites as a permeable reactive barrier. 

Dr. Ören continued working on the evaluation of hydraulic conductivity performance of GCLs at Dokuz Eylül University. His studies in recent years have focused on the investigation of the factors affecting the permeability of GCLs. He is also involved EU funded project namely “Sustainable groundwater resources management by integrating earth observation derived monitoring and flow modeling results on land subsidence”. Apart from these, he involved in many geotechnical engineering projects such as foundation design, pile shoring systems, landslide prevention, retaining wall design.

Dr. Ören, who has been a Member of the Advisory Board in the TÜBİTAK Engineering Research Group between 2019-2022 and a Member of the Group Executive Board since 2022, still continues to work as a full-time faculty member at the Department of Civil Engineering at Dokuz Eylül University.

Jonathan Stewart

Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Structures Based on Soil-Structure Interaction Principles

Jonathan P. Stewart is a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UCLA, where he has been a faculty member since 1996. He previously served as department chair from 2012-2018. His degrees (BS, MS, PhD) are from UC Berkeley.

Stewart’s technical expertise is in geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, with emphasis on soil-structure interaction, ground motion and ground failure hazard characterization, and seismic risk analysis for levees and other distributed infrastructure. Several current research endeavors include his leadership of the Next-Generation Liquefaction project, development of site amplification and ground motion models for diverse global and region-specific applications, development and application of non-ergodic site response analysis methods for use in probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, and development of soil-structure interaction-based procedures for evaluating seismic earth pressures on retaining structures.

The work of his research group has impacted the US National Seismic Hazard Maps; the Global Earthquake Model; building code documents (NEHRP Provisions and ASCE-7); and guidelines documents for tall buildings (Tall Buildings Initiative project), existing structures (ASCE-41), soil-structure interaction (NIST, 2012), and landslide hazards (SCEC, 2002). His work has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, the Bruce Bolt Medal and the Joyner Lecture from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and Seismological Society of America, the Huber Prize and Casagrande Award from  ASCE, the NSF CAREER Award, and several best paper awards.

He is a former Chief Editor for the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering and is currently Past Editor of Earthquake Spectra. He currently serves on the EERI Board of Directors, the UC Seismic Advisory Board, and the USGS National Seismic Hazard Model Steering Committee, among others.