A JOURNEY OF THE COLUMN:
IT’S MORE THAN JUST A NEWSLETTER
I have had the great privilege of serving as Editor in Chief of The Column since December 2016 and as this edition, Volume 75, marks the end of my tenure, I would like to reflect on The Column’s journey thus far.
The Column was first published in January 2015 under the stewardship of Mr Said Faisal, who led the AHA Centre as Executive Director. At that time, the AHA Centre needed to have a platform that could regularly update and inform partners about all issues relating to disaster management and humanitarian assistance in the ASEAN region, as well as a channel to communicate to the public about the activities of the AHA Centre.
I was pleased to take over as Editor in Chief for the 24th edition and although The Column was fulfilling its initial role, I felt that there was much more that could be achieved in order to get our important message across to a wider audience. The most obvious transformation was in the visual design – to make it more attractive, and most importantly to publish The Column in a web-version format. This was achieved with Volume 36 in March 2018 and it allowed readers to access The Column from their computers or cellphones. The public could also now subscribe to receive the monthly newsletter via email.
On top of that, I sought to ensure that we had a more diverse range of contributors, from AHA Centre staff and other experts and partners to academics and the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme graduates. The Other Side section of The Column also regularly features profiles of people from various backgrounds who have shared the “other side” of their public persona. In the past few editions, the Other Side has featured ACE Programme alumni from all 10 ASEAN Member States.
The Column has become an important channel for the AHA Centre to communicate with stakeholders, partners and the general public about the vitally important role the Centre plays in disaster management and humanitarian issues in the region. As a knowledge product, The Column also provides the opportunity for AHA Centre staff, partners, academics and experts to contribute to the expansion of information on all matters relating to its work.
It has been six years since the first edition of The Column was released, and many activities and a great deal of information have been captured in its pages. As Editor in Chief, I have been a witness to what has been going on in the AHA Centre and in the region through its many informative articles.
As I prepare to leave the Centre this month, I feel emotional about also leaving The Column, where over the years I have got in touch with so many dedicated individuals, both professionals and volunteers, in formal meetings, informal gatherings and through social media. We could not have achieved what we have without their efforts and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them. I would also like to express my sincerest gratitude for the support provided by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and EU-SAHA to The Column.
I hope, indeed I am sure, that The Column will continue to inform the AHA Centre’s partners and the wider public about all disaster-management and humanitarian issues in the region. I wish it and the team every success in the future.
Written by : Ms Adelina Kamal