/ / The Other Side


Having played a large role as a facilitator within the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme over recent years, New Zealand’s Chris Webb continued his interaction with the ASEAN region’s next disaster management leaders during 2019’s programme, taking on his role as the lead facilitator of the Critical Incident Leadership course. Alongside engaging with participants to learn about new concepts such as meta-leadership in Jakarta and then in New Zealand, Mr Webb also worked with the group during a number of their activities visiting New Zealand’s disaster management sites and institutions.

Before taking on a role as a facilitator, Mr Webb worked in the New Zealand National Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) as Professional Development Manager, and for the 12 years before that he was the head of the Emergency and Disaster Management Department at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Mr Webb’s postgraduate qualifications in Emergency and Disaster Management also come from the same university, and add to his vast knowledge and experience in the disaster management sector.

Engaging as a facilitator in the ACE Programme for the past five years, including during 2019 in Jakarta and the New Zealand study trip, Mr Webb states that he has enjoyed every minute of the experience, and is always impressed with the enthusiasm that ACE participants show towards learning. He is confident that ACE graduates will strongly contribute to the future of disaster management in their own nations, as well as in the wider circles of the region and the world. Mr Webb feels that the relationships established and maintained by ACE participants definitely have great value for the One ASEAN, One Response vision. He likes to use the term “Leadership is a journey – a personal journey”, and at the end of the programme often sees that participants have embraced this form of personal development within their own context.

Outside of the ACE Programme itself, Mr Webb also believes that the greatest need for the ASEAN region is that Member States and supporting bodies continue to extend their focus outside of just disaster response, and further into the areas of disaster risk reduction and public education. He reminds us that disaster is very complex, and that the world of disaster management is part of the environment that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). Establishing and maintaining relationships, as well as communicating and leading across a wide range of groups, cultures and thinking preferences is critical as ASEAN continues to move forward in disaster management. He says that as future leaders in ASEAN, ACE participants must acknowledge that leaders need to work with others, and must learn to lead themselves. Being a self-reflective leader is critical in disaster management, and it forms an area that Mr Webb is passionate about.

Mr Webb finishes his chat with us by highlighting what he sees as one of the greatest opportunities for the AHA Centre to have a valuable influence in global disaster management – which according to him is the Centre’s own experience, and the reality of such experiences. The AHA Centre understands the complexity of managing disaster within populous areas and with a variety of different cultures and peoples. He reminds us that there is a wealth of experience within ASEAN, and if this can be harnessed further, it could contribute greatly to the current body of global disaster management knowledge.


Written by : Putri Mumpuni | Photo : AHA Centre