Image of Rio de Janeiro at night

The 4th Pan-American Regional Conference on Geosynthetics is also the first major geosynthetics conference to be held entirely online. The organizes have released the GeoAmericas 2020 agenda. It is, as promised, packed with notable lectures, high-quality short courses, and engaging session topics.

The conference will take place 26 – 31 October 2020 online, giving participants plenty of flexibility to balance their learning schedule with work.


An important note for those perusing the schedule: times are listed in UTC. Be sure to convert to the time zone where you are based.

For example, the opening keynote from Márcio Almeida on “Brazilian Contributions in Geosynthetics Engineering” (and there are many!) takes place at 2:00 pm UTC. This converts to 10:00 am the Easter time zone, 4:00 pm for most of Europe, and the middle of the night for our colleagues in Australia.

GeoAmericas 2020 image for logo over a photo of three site workers unwinding a sheet of geomembrane from a spreader bar onto a slope.

What stands out in the agenda?

It is a large program, as promised. This is not only because there is high interest and involvement but because it is online. The digital nature of the offerings and the conference’s extremely affordable price means that it will be much easier for someone who works in only one or two sectors to attend those specific lectures, technical/discussion sessions, and networking.

GeoAmericas 2020 online is simply going to be more open to people who would not typically travel to an international event. That gives it a fascinating angle. We will have different types of discussions and engagement with these new voices in the audience.

And though it is an online event, the organizers have built in networking and exhibition time slots into nearly every day.

Quick Look

Day 1 (October 26) includes the opening keynote, the IGS student paper awards session, three technical sessions, a discussion session on MSE walls (which has been a hot topic at recent events), a training lecture on reinforced embankments on soft soils, and Dr. Richard Brachman’s delivery of the inaugural Zornberg Lecture.

Day 2 brings Kerry Rowe’s fantastic Mercer Lecture, another special session for young engineers, 5 technical sessions, more training lectures and discussion, and a keynote address from one of the most dynamic figures in mining’s use of geosynthetics, Denys Parra.

Day 3 opens with a keynote from another of the giants of the field: Dov Leshchinsky, who will add more to the MSE wall design debate. More rounds of technical sessions, discussions, and training lectures follow. As with the other days, networking is built in.

Day 4 flips the script on the traditional conference. Most events open with a pre-conference day of short courses. GeoAmericas 2020 has nested its short courses on this fourth day of learning. The offerings focus on geosynthetics in transportation engineering, hydraulic engineering, barrier systems, embankment design, and installation. All of the short courses are half-day course except for Jorge Zornberg and Erol Tutumluer’s full-day course on Geosynthetic Design of Roadways, Railways, and Airfields.

Two side by side portrait photos. On the left, Prof. Jorge Zornberg of the University of Texas - Austin. On the right, Prof. Erol Tutumluer of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Renowned practitioners Dr. Jorge Zornberg and Dr. Erol Tutumluer will lead the full-day short course, “Geosynthetic Design of Roadways, Railways, and Airfields.”

Day 5 includes Jie Han’s keynote on Geosynthetics Reinforced Paved and Unpaved Roads, followed by technical committee meetings and more technical, discussion, and training lecture sessions.

The conference concludes on Day 6 (October 31), with Barry Christopher sharing lesson learned across four decades in geosynthetics engineering. Additional sessions take place prior to a closing ceremony.


Geosynthetica strongly encourages readers to check out the GeoAmericas 2020 Online agenda. Start planning your involvement! The wide range of geotechnical topics address major sectors (e.g., transportation engineering, mining) and geosynthetic materials (e.g., long-term performance, filtration properties). The keynotes, discussion sessions, and training lectures do as well. And the presence of so many networking breaks gives attendees a unique opportunity to round out their learning.

REMINDER: The early-bird deadline is October 1. Don’t miss the rate!

Learn more and register