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With the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme taking place during the second half of 2019, we will bring to you insights of AHA Centre partners at work – showcasing their input and value through their engagement in the ACE Programme

The New Zealand Government is one of the AHA Centre’s original partners – dating back before the official establishment of the Centre in 2011 – and has continued its strong support for disaster management with the AHA Centre through its engagement in the ACE Programme. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT) through the New Zealand Aid Programme has provided ACE Programme support since 2014, and has engaged a number of other New Zealand institutions within the effort to build a generation of future ASEAN leaders in disaster management.

During the 2019 ACE Programme implementation, MFAT – supported by the University of Canterbury – delivered a number of activities with the programme participants, including key courses on Introduction to Hazards and Critical Incident Leadership (CIL). They also worked with participants in Jakarta to prepare for their visit to New Zealand to engage in the courses. These courses were co-developed by MFAT and the AHA Centre, and stand as MFAT’s key contribution within the ACE Programme. The CIL course is a 150-hour component of the ACE curriculum that concentrates on the development of critical incident leadership skills, communication, and exercise management for the future disaster management leaders in ASEAN. Undertaken in New Zealand, CIL specifically targets areas of strategic thinking, proactive planning, decision-making, and situational awareness based on engagement with stakeholders in disaster management.

MFAT support the in-country course delivery as part of an overall 2-week study trip that took participants to institutions and disaster sites throughout the four New Zealand cities of Christchurch, Kaikoura, Wellington and Auckland. The participants engaged in lectures from researchers and practitioners, including cultural experience and community insights from Maori tribe representatives (Ngai Tahu – Maru Kaitatea) about response and resilience after the 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura. Participants learnt about the Maori’s values on resilience to natural disaster, where people of Maori descent aim to protect their resources (taonga) to prevent disaster and to preserve their livelihood and sustainability.

Alongside the preparation for courses in Jakarta, and the study trip itself, MFAT also provides support to the ACE Programme through professional engagements delivered by prominent individuals such as Her Excellency Pam Dunn, Ambassador of New Zealand for ASEAN for the ACE Programme in 2018, and Her Excellency Jo Tyndall, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore for the ACE Programme in 2019. They engaged as speakers in the ACE Programme Leaders Talks, which allow participants to learn about leadership through their expertise and experience being the world’s key leaders themselves. Through inputs such as these, MFAT and the Government of New Zealand have opened the minds and worlds of 97 ACE Programme participants so far, and continue to provide their valuable support and experience to the ACE Programme and the AHA Centre as a whole.

Written by : Putri Mumpuni | Photo : AHA Centre