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This year, the AHA Centre once again invited talented individuals from the ASEAN Member States to join the latest batch of the ACE Programme. Batch Seven of the ACE Programme was initially planned for 2020 but like so much else it was interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic did not, however, prevent the AHA Centre from improving and redesigning the delivery of this programme. With the main support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and various other partners, Batch Seven of ACE Programme is now being conducted through blended mode. The online training kicked off on 28 July 2021, and the onsite part of the programme is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2022.

The cornerstone of the programme lies in the interaction among peers during the six-month duration. It was not an easy decision to convert the ACE Programme into an online setting. Over six years the programme had been delivered face-to-face to build a strong relationship among disaster managers across the region. Now given the challenging conditions in the world, we were forced to be creative and to do things differently. The team went through back-to-back consultations with the Project Steering Committee and NDMOs as well as training partners, weighing all options available without sacrificing the learning objectives. The framework and curriculum remain the same, however, the learning approach has been switched to a Flipped Classroom, where the class is mainly used for discussions, rehearsals and clarifying information. Subsequently, the team sought the most suitable online learning infrastructure to cater to the needs of the ACE Programme.


And it is not only the training delivery itself, the AHA Centre also turned the launch of the programme into a virtual event. On Friday, 6 August 2021, the virtual ceremony for the ACE Programme Batch Seven was held to officially welcome 21 future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN. The event was well-attended by high-level dignitaries from the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Dialogue Partners. Commissioner Eric Yap from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, H.E. Akira Chiba, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, H.E. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community along with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre all delivered their opening remarks to officially launch the 21 professionals in disaster management as the future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN.

Transforming the level of engagement in the online setting event, the invitees actively participated in a trivia quiz about the ACE Programme. The questions recalled the memories and journey that are the past and present of the ACE Programme. It also acknowledged the important role of the partners who support the programme. In fact, the ACE Programme is unique in that it brings together experts in humanitarian assistance and disaster management from around the globe. These partners have facilitated the training programme from the beginning. The Chargé d’Affaires of the New Zealand Mission to ASEAN, Mr. Charlie Gillard; Deputy Head of Office of the OCHA Regional Office Asia Pacific, Mr. Michael Saad; IFRC Head of Country Cluster Support Team and Representative to ASEAN, Mr. Jan Gelfand; Senior Disaster Management Specialist of PDC, Mr. Joel Myhre; and Mr. Jermaine Baltazar Bayas of Oxfam and the AADMER Partnership Group expressed their support, stressing the importance of the ACE Programme, and also encouragement for the participants of this batch.


Written by : Ferosa Arsadita & Shella Ningtias | Photo Credit: AHA Centre