Disaster Management: AHA Centre Executive Programme Graduation Ceremony

ACE Programme Participants with Dignitaries (Source: AHA Centre)

At November 28, 2019, the journey of 18 AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme Batch 6 participants finally comes to an end with the graduation ceremony in BNPB Office Jakarta. This training comprised of 23 courses, visited to 5 countries, and lasted for 5 months. Participants of the course are 18 National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) officers from 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS). Facilitators and training partners for the course are more than 21 international organization, universities, and institutes. 

The objective of the ACE Programme is preparing the future leaders of disaster management in ASEAN who mastered the various aspects of disaster management, from preparedness, response, and recovery. Participants also are encouraged to appreciate the scope of international and intra-regional coordination and able to demonstrate the spirit of One ASEAN One Response. 

There are four core competencies that would like to be achieved of the programme, namely an expert in humanitarian assistance, support the operationalization One ASEAN One Response, result oriented leaders, and to be an effective leaders. 

Dignitaries for the graduation ceremony are from ASEAN Secretariat, JAIF, AMS’s Representatives and its dialogue partners, BNPB (Indonesian NDMO), AHA Centre, and ACE Programme participants. 

Some highlights from the speeches and remarks in the graduation ceremony are as follows: 

Harmensyah, Secretary General, BNPB (Source: AHA Centre)

“ASEAN communities need to be more resilient. It can be achieved by conducting training for officers of NDMOs in ASEAN and strengthen coordination mechanisms among AMS.” Said, Harmensyah, the Secretary General of BNPB. 

Acoording to Harmensyah, building network among AMS can help to achieve excellency in managing disaster in the prone area, such as in ASEAN region. He hoped that ACE Programme alumnae can help their organisations in each country and also AHA Centre for managing disaster in the region. 

Ambassador Japan to ASEAN, Akira Chiba (Source: AHA Centre)

Meanwhile, Ambassador Japan to ASEAN, Akira Chiba reiterated the importance of ACE Programme for building the strong network with colleagues and expert in the region. He hoped that participants can share their knowledge, such as the lessons learned from study visit in Japan. He then supported that ACE Programme participants would become the leader of DM not only in ASEAN, but also in the globe. 

Kung Phoak, the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN (Source: AHA Centre)

The next speaker was Kung Phoak, the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN who reminded us that climate change is increasing the impact and frequency of disaster in ASEAN region. Even, the region accounted for having a half of mortality number due to disasters across the globe. Then ASEAN region also experiences transboundary disasters. 

Kung Phoak encouraged for applying the innovative and creative method for building resilience to face various disasters in the region. This objective should be the priority of disaster management activities in ASEAN.

These circumstances then require an effective leadership for crises and inclusive. Those leaders should maintain trust and friendship, and apply the holistic approach for disaster management. All of these actions need to be done for exploring method, overcome challenges, and achieving resilience for facing future disasters. 

For closing his remarks, Kung Phoak expected that ACE Programme alumnae could become the Champion of Disaster Management Officers in the region. 

Sulawan Kewsanga, Thailand (Source: AHA Centre)

The next session for the graduation ceremony was the presentation of project proposal from Sulawan Kewsanga, ACE Participant from Thailand. Miss Kewsanga presented her project with the title ‘Increasing the Disaster Response Mechanism for People with Disabilities’. Developing project proposal is one of the activities during the course for all participants. 

In the graduation ceremony, there was also awards for participants. Three types of award were provided, namely Stellar Award, Quantum Leap Award, and Most Valuable Player Award. 

Stellar Award Recipient with Dignitaries (Source: AHA Centre)

Stellar Award was given to: 

  1. Rownie Aura Abella (Philippines)
  2. Amelia Justina Lim (Singapore)
  3. Mary Ann Sarah Ulat (Philippines)
Quantum Leap Award Recipient with Dignitaries (Source: AHA Centre)

Quantum Leap Award was given to: 

  1. Palida Puapun (Thailand)
  2. Nguyen Ba Thanh (Viet Nam)
  3. Phosavanh Thammavongxay (Lao PDR)
Most Valuable Award Recipients (Source: AHA Centre)

Most Valuable Award was given to: 

  1. Danial Aimran bin Hamdan (Malaysia)
  2. Rina Nur Hafizah binti Abdul (Brunei Darussalam)
  3. Sulawan Kaewsanga (Thailand) 

Other nominee for those awards are: 

Nominees for the Stellar Awards 

  • Ram Chum Mang (Myanmar)
  • Safrizan Bin Suhaini (Malaysia)
  • Sridewanto Pinuji (Indonesia) 

Nominees for the Quantum Leap Awards

  • Sonekahm Phommahaxay (Lao PDR)
  • Myo Myo Aung (Myanmar)
  • Theara Moeun (Cambodia)

Nominees for the Most Valuable Player Awards

  • Ojahan Lumban Gaol (Indonesia)
  • Pansiem Solyden (Cambodia)
  • Nguyen Hoang Tung (Viet Nam)

The next session was the reflection speech from the ACE Participants that was delivered by Ram Chum Mang from Myanmar and Amelia Justina Lim from Singapore. 

Ram Chum Mang, Myanmar (Source: AHA Centre)

Ram expressed his gratitude to all partners who have supported the course and said, “We the ACE Participants have become ASEAN brothers and sisters, to become future leaders.”  

Amelia Justina Lim, Singapore (Source: AHA Centre)

Meanwhile, Amelia highlighted that the ACE Participants now were not the same people they had been five months before. She mentioned an experience during a field visit in Palu where participants encountered a survivor at the liquefaction affected area. 

As the survivor recounted her experience during the disaster in 2018, the participants listened and cried together with the survivor. Amelia, however, mentioned that those tears were tears of compassion, not tears of weakness. 

This experience was printed in Amelia’s thoughts and she realized that good leaders are those who put being human first above all else. These leaders put themselves in others’ shoes to understand their feelings and aspirations. Then she highlighted that during a crisis, ASEAN should work as a team, because ‘together we are stronger’.

Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director (Source: AHA Centre)

For closing the graduation ceremony, Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre reiterated her messages five months ago. The ACE Programme course would be difficult, but it is necessary for building the leadership muscle of future leaders. 

She was expecting that ACE Programme alumnae would implement all experience and knowledge from the course to help and save people during crises. She hoped that those knowledge, lessons, and experiences would make you a better person, especially for managing disaster in ASEAN region.

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