Energizing relationships between alumni associations and country teams to improve and enhance Fellows Projects was the focus of the “Alumni Associations: Advancing Regional Security Cooperation 2019,” held September 9-12 at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) in Honolulu.
Fifty-four alumni and U.S. Embassy representatives from 20 countries within the Indo-Pacific region attended the event. Forty percent of the participants were women.
Countries represented were Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United States and Vietnam.
As individuals or as members of alumni associations or core groups, DKI APCSS alumni are catalysts for accomplishing our mission–achieving viable outcomes, common understanding and collaborative networks. One of the core and unique elements of the DKI APCSS executive education model that helps us accomplish our mission is the Fellows Project, an assignment given to Fellows attending DKI APCSS courses. Fellows select their own projects based on a security-related challenge or opportunity they have identified in their organization or nation.
“Given the diversity and inclusiveness of alumni associations or groups, they are virtually the perfect fit for prepping Fellows for APCSS and for mentoring their projects,” explained workshop lead John Gasner. “As a result of this workshop, each of the 20 country cohorts successfully and collaboratively developed actionable, and measurable plans and processes to increase the effectiveness of their respective alumni association or group. The plans also specifically addressed ways to leverage the connection and communication between the alumni association or core group and the U.S. Embassy staff. The great teamwork among participants helped enable success.”
According to workshop coordinator, Dr. Miemie Byrd, “Alumni Association and respective U.S. Country Team representatives demonstrated great energy, camaraderie and collaboration over the course of the workshop.”
The primary vehicle for meeting workshop goals was to focus on Fellows Projects, and how the alumni associations can better prepare individual Fellows and Cohorts for success.
“It was gratifying for us to see and hear how the alumni were using their experience, knowledge, and skills they had gained from their time at DKI APCSS to enhance their countries’ national goals, as well as, to ensure a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region,” Byrd continued. “DKI APCSS educates, connects and empowers fellows and alumni to achieve success and positive impact on the regional security environment. The Alumni Associations play a crucial role in providing a platform, opportunity, and access to amplify the individual and cohort’s influence and in strengthening alumni network connections.”
A highlight of this workshop was the return of four alumni who provided presentations on their Fellows Projects including Ms. Doreen Joel, First Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Papua New Guinea (ASC 14-1); Ms. Dominica Mai, Senior Officer, Department of Community Development, Papua New Guinea (ASC 14-1); Ms. San San Maw, Director, Myanmar Red Cross Society (ASC 16-1) and Mr. Colin Smith, Supervising Custom Officer, New Zealand Custom Service (CS 10-1).