Corporate News

AIM to launch disaster risk, crisis management course

Date issued: April 17, 2017

THE Asian Institute of Management (AIM) is set to launch a short course and a master’s program for disaster risk and crisis management as the country faces the persistent threat of natural calamities and the dangers brought about by climate change, school officials said.

“In the coming 25 years, the path of natural disasters and how we build resilience against [them] will not only affect peoples’ livelihoods but also the growth rates of countries. So it is an absolute key for not only households but also for businesses and for policy makers,” said Vinod Thomas, visiting professor at AIM and at the National University of Singapore.

He added that the course is important because the intensity and the frequency of disasters are rising worldwide.

Mr. Vinod, whose book “Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Transforming Economies and Policies for a Sustainable Future” was launched by AIM on April 6, said that although preparedness was improving there were still lessons to be learned on “how to do things better.”

“But it’s like an exam you take, and you are prepared for an intermediate exam, you show up and you are given an advanced test. Or you’re doing barangay basketball and you’re prepared but when you show up the national team is the one playing against you. So you need to be prepared for that,” he said.

Building resilience and being prepared have become a business requirement, Mr. Vinod said, especially for the Philippines, which needs both skills and talents in these areas.

“There are a lot of ad hoc pieces and examples around. But to build them into a course in AIM would be a great contribution and it’s also very good business proposition because managers would need to know how to manage situations of crisis and also situations of risk,” he said.

The new course will be under AIM’s Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Management.

“What we have in mind is to bring some value to doing disaster management,” Kenneth Y. Hartigan-Go, head of the Graduate School of Management, said.

He said the Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management degree program will be ideal not just for those in private businesses, but also government policy makers and civil society members who deal with the “complex problem” brought by disasters.

“People deal with preparation, prevention, response, rehabilitation and recovery... but we think that we want to bring in some other ways of thinking on how to bring people together and develop a more cohesive, horizontal coordination and collaboration,” he said.

During earthquakes, for instance, he said there are many issues to study, including people’s behavior, and the response of government and private sector.

“One of the key highlights we think might be useful is to develop a horizontal business continuity planning. Industries are by and large developing more basic services and basic tools rather than government, which is not bad. But when disasters strike and people cannot come to work, what can be done? They have to study that angle, not just for themselves but how it interacts with other businesses,” he said.

Mr. Hartigan-Go said the use of technology would be a “significant, critical” component of the program.

“The use of 21st century technology is a very interesting dimension to improving the management of disasters,” he said, adding that it deals with people, processes, logistics, hazard-mapping, among others.

The diploma course certificate will start this year and all throughout 2018. By the beginning of 2019, AIM would then be ready to offer a master’s program.

Other Philippine schools are offering similar programs, Mr. Hartigan-Go said, citing Ateneo de Manila University as having a “robust disaster-training course.”

“We would like to come into this space by contributing some value proposition in bringing leadership into the picture,” he said. “But we are coordinating, in fact, with the Ateneo group so there will be areas where we will have joint faculty sessions.”

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