Bernard Amadei Cropped
Founding Director
Civil Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department

University of Colorado
Engineering Center Office Tower (ECOT) Room 546
Dept. of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Eng.
428 UCB
Boulder CO 80309-0428



Dr. Amadei is a Distinguished Professor and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Amadei is the Founding Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. He is also the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders - USA and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders-International network. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Construction. He is also an elected Senior Ashoka Fellow. Dr. Amadei holds seven honorary doctoral degrees (UMass Lowell; Carroll College; Clarkson; Drexel; Worcester Polytechnic Institute; the Technion in Israel; and SUNY-ESF). In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Amadei served as a Science Envoy to Pakistan and Nepal for the US Department of State. Dr. Amadei holds a commercial pilot license (multi-engine land, instrument).

Biographical Sketch

Prof. Amadei has been extremely active in publishing papers in both scientific journals and professional meetings. He has authored and co-authored six books and approximately 200 technical papers. His research at the University of Colorado has been multidisciplinary. He has also provided consulting services to various engineering companies and organizations around the world. 

Dr. Amadei’s current research focuses on integrating systems thinking and systems science in the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of small-scale community development projects. More specifically, he is interested in how to use system dynamics tools combined with other decision-making tools to (i) model the complex interactions taking place across social, natural, economic, and infrastructure systems; and (ii) understand how such interactions may contribute to sustainable development and peacebuilding. Dr. Amadei is also interested in the new field of Peace Engineering (PeaceEng) launched at Drexel University in 2017. It introduces engineers to the issues and mechanics of conflict analysis and peacebuilding and invites engineers to develop systemic methods and technologies to support peacebuilding efforts in conflict avoidance, reduction, and/or recovery.

Honors and Awards

  • 2002 Colorado Bank One Award for outstanding outreach community service;
  • 2003 E-Achievement Award from E-Town;
  • 2005 Nayudamma Award, Nayudamma Center for Development Alternatives in Nellore, India;
  • 2005 AAES Norm Augustine Award;
  • 2005 Service Award for Professional Excellence from Rotary International;
  • 2005 Hassib J. Sabbagh Award for Excellence in Engineering Construction (with EWB-USA) from the World Federation of Engineering Organizations;
  • 2006 General Palmer Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado;
  • 2006 Ralph Coats Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers;
  • 2007 Hoover Medal from ASCE, ASME, IEEE, AIME, and AIChE;
  • 2007 Heinz Foundation Award for the Environment (co-recipient);
  • 2008 Drexel University College of Engineering’s Engineer of the Year;
  • 2008 Maurice L. Albertson Medal in Sustainable Development from Village Earth;
  • 2008 International Human Rights Award, United Nations Association, Boulder County Chapter;
  • 2008 Golden Vector Award of the Pan American Federation of Engineering Associations;
  • 2008 Member of the National Academy of Engineering;
  • 2008 Engineering News Record Award of Excellence;
  • 2009 Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Center for Global Leadership, Tufts University.
  • 2009 Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers 
  • 2009 Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa), UMass, Lowell
  • 2009 National Ground Water Association Honororay Member Award
  • 2009 Ashoka-Knight Fellow
  • 2010 Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa), Carroll College, Helena, MT
  • 2011 Honorary Doctor of Science, Clarkson Univeristy
  • 2011-2012 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS-CO) Honoree of the Year
  • 2012 Science Envoy, US Department of State
  • 2013 Member of the National Academy of Construction
  • 2013 Honorary Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa), Drexel University
  • 2014 Honorary Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Clausa), Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • 2015 ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award (education)
  • 2015 Washington Award, The Western Society of Engineers
  • 2016 C.H. Dunn Award, The Construction Industry Institute
  • 2016 Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado
  • 2017 Honorary Doctor of Science, Technion, Israel
  • 2019 Honororay Doctor of Science, SUNY-ESF
  • 2021 Maverick Influencer Award, BuiltWorlds

Prof. Amadei' s work has been featured on National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, TeDx, and TIME (US). His book entitled "Engineering for Sustainable Human Development: A Guide to Successful Small-Scale Community Projects " is available through ASCE Press (ISBN 978-0-7844-1353-1). His book titled "A systems Approach to Community Development Projects" was published by Momentum Press (ISBN-13: 978-1-60650-518-2). His latest book (Vols. 1 and 2) "A Systems Approach to Modeling the Water-Energy-Land-Food Nexus" was published by Momentum Press (ISBN 9781947083523 and 9781947083547), Feb. 2019

Selected Interviews and Articles

Selected Projects (2010-Present)

  • Currently involved in various small scale development projects in the Middle East, Peru, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Brazil
  • A Collaborative Project at the Texas-Tamaulipas Border (2021-2022)
  • Systems Approaches to the Management of Reform and Peacebuilding Projects in Conflict-Affected Environments, USIP (2021-2022)
  • Sustainability in Brazil: An Interdisciplianry Approach to Sustainable Development in the Amazon and Atlantic Forests (2018-Present)
  • Building Post-Disaster Resilience: ICT-Enable Mental Health Support Service in Puerto Rico (2018-2019)
  • Co-chair, PeaceTech Lab Board, Washington D.C. (2013-Present)
  • US Science Envoy to Pakistan and Nepal (2012-2014)
  • Sustainable economic development for the Crow Native American community in Montana (2007-Aug.2012)
  • A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Community Recovery, NSF (2012-2014)
  • Developing a Replicable Model for Sustainable Technology Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan (2007-2010)
  • Sustainable practices for affordable housing in Palestine (2008-2010)
  • Sustainable Engineering in the Eastern Mediterranean region (2008-2010)
  • Increasing smallholder income through appropriate technology in the Jatropha biofuel value chain in Guatemala (2011-2012)
  • Emissions and burn-lab for sustanable fuel (2011-2012)
  • Analysis of drain effectiveness and implications for failure probability for concrete gravity dams (2011-2012)