One of the biggest events of the IEEE Region 8 took place in Madrid in July: The 8th IEEE Region 8 Student Branch & GOLD Congress (SBC 2012) - the flagship student and GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) event in the Region 8 (Europe, Africa, Middle East). Besides continuing the tradition of connecting the IEEE student members in Region 8 established by the previous SBC's in London (2008) and Leuven (2010), the event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the foundation of IEEE Region 8. After the excellent SBC in Leuven 2010, the expectations to this edition of the region SBC were high, but all expectations were exceeded. The Student Branch JKU Linz was represented by its committee members DI Norbert Eidenberger, Bernhard Gruber, DI Christian Schmid and Günther Blüml.

During this SBC the delegates from Linz participated in various different workshops and cultural activities in different places all around Madrid. The congress managed to attract around 400 attendees from all corners of Europe, Middle East and Africa. And that's not everything - the long list of attendees also included the student representatives from Region 2 (Eastern USA) and 10 (Asia and Pacific), as well as 24 attendees from Region 9 (Latin America).

Many IEEE representatives attended the congress. The IEEE board of directors was represented by IEEE Past President Moshe Kam, IEEE President Gordon W. Day and IEEE President-Elect Peter W. Staecker. In addition, the entire Region 8 OpCom, consisting of Director Marco Delimar, Director-Elect Martin Bastiaans, Secretary Costas Stasopoulos and Treasurer Brian Harrington attended the congress. And finally, many other IEEE global volunteers and staff could be seen at the congress.

The congress program offered various activities, which ranged from a ‘Welcome and Meet-again Act’ at the town hall of Madrid, an official opening act at the Technical University of Madrid, to a rich workshop program (technical and non-technical), a delicious and unique gala dinner at the Hotel Convencion and many interesting visits – to institutions such as the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Research Center for Smart Buildings and Energy Efficiency (CeDint), and the Research Center for Energy Environment and Technology (CIEMAT).

One of the highlights of the social program, the much anticipated multi-cultural evening had exceeded all expectations. With participants from 53 different countries, the cultural diversity was everywhere and, according to some reports at the next day and our own experiences, you could even call it overwhelming.

Part of the non-technical program was a Director-Elect candidate debate with the two candidates for the upcoming election of the next Region 8 Director which was moderated by the chair of the IEEE Spain Section Pilar Molina Gaudo.

Perhaps most important, though, were the ample opportunities for networking and exchange of experiences which took place around the clock. We have made many new friends and new ideas were generated, which will enrich the future activities of the IEEE Student Branch JKU Linz.

Congratulations again to the SBC Madrid team for organizing this amazing congress and thanks to all the people we have met there. We hope to see you at the next SBC - wherever that may be!

Here you find this text as a pdf containing the german version too.