The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) signed a memorandum of understanding on September 06—signifying a long-term strategic partnership and academic collaboration towards the promotion of disaster risk reduction and management, and business continuity practices in the Philippines and Asia.
Under the signed memorandum, AIM and PDRF will work closely in developing and implementing the curriculum and learning activities mainly for the Institute’s new degree program: the Executive Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management (EMDRCM) launched last May. The 18-month, part-time EMDRCM program is the first of its kind in the world to offer leadership and management skills to disaster and crisis professionals.
“[This collaboration] exemplifies the importance of engaging the private sector to promote the safety and welfare of all in society. We are grateful that PDRF shares our goal…to advocate for disaster resilience in the Philippines and Asia,” said Dr. Jikyeong Kang, AIM President and Dean.
PDRF President Rene Meily likewise expressed excitement over the newly-forged partnership. “Capacitating great leaders is crucial in times of disasters and crises, because lives are at stake when decisions are made. We are counting on this partnership to produce those kinds of leaders,” Meily said.
As the Philippines' major private sector vehicle for disaster management, the PDRF has had a long history and wealth of experience on disaster management. “All while we were doing interventions and trainings, we were hoping to have a higher education institution that will really forward disaster resilience education. We’re happy that AIM launched this program,” said Guillermo Luz, PDRF’s Chief Resilience Officer.
Designed to be immersive and practitioner-oriented, the Institute’s EMDRCM program aims to develop graduates who will become 1) skillful disaster and crisis leaders, 2) critical and collaborative thinkers, 3) strategic planners and implementers, and 4) effective communicators of resilience discourse.
“We at AIM focus on the ‘live-ware’—the human beings at work in this field. We are producing leaders that will champion resilience for the world,” said Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Academic Program Director of the EMDRCM program and School Head of AIM Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management.
In addition to rigorous academic coursework, the program integrates various fieldworks, community immersions, and apprenticeships into its curriculum.
According to Meily, such internships may be conducted through PDRF’s network of private organizations. Their Emergency Operations Center in Clark, Pampanga will also open its doors to students.
“Moving ahead, this will marry management skills, scientific knowledge, and tactical training in the whole disaster management cycle. Truly, this is an idea whose time has come,” Luz said.
“We may be the third riskiest place in the world in terms of disaster vulnerability. But let’s make our country the number one in the region for good disaster management and practical approach to resilience,” he added.
Representatives of the two institutions who signed the memorandum of understanding were: Dr. Jikyeong Kang, President and Dean of AIM; Dr. Kenneth Y. Hartigan-Go, School Head of AIM Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management; Mr. Rene “Butch” S. Meily, President of PDRF; and Mr. Guillermo M. Luz, Chief Resilience Officer of PDRF.