Session speaker announcement: Mr Stephen McDonald, Director, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Deakin University on exploring the synergies of international crisis leadership

Stephen-McDonaldWe are pleased to announce session speaker Mr Stephen McDonald, Director, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Deakin University who will speak at the 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference; Earth, Fire and Rain 30-31 May 2016.

Mr McDonald will speak in the Crisis Leadership stream on “International crisis leadership and the Australian and New Zealand disaster context: Exploring the synergies”.

Since 2011 Deakin University and Save the Children, in partnership with sixteen international and Australian organisations have designed and implemented a Humanitarian Leadership Programme (HLP). This partnership has evolved, and with the support of the IKEA Foundation and the Australian Aid Programme has now become the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership (CHL) hosted at Deakin University. The HLP has been acknowledged as the ‘most important course of its type in the world’. Now with a new partnership with Fire and Rescue NSW, as well as a growing cohort of students from Australian and New Zealand disaster management agencies, is demonstrating its increasing local relevance.

With a focus on adaptive leadership and individual leadership behaviours, rather than technical leadership, the course is having a marked effect on students. This is demonstrated in research conducted in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan (9th November 2014) where field research was conducted on the performance of graduates and students deployed to the crisis.

Fire and Rescue NSW have experienced the applicability of this approach having had a small number of staff graduate from the programme. FRNSW is now working with the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership to develop the capability of their internationally deployable USAR teams, as well as explore the integration of the Centre’s approach more widely across leadership development plans within the organisation. In addition, FRNSW and the Centre are collaborating on developing a research and innovation agenda for the benefit of communities in NSW and leveraging FRNSW capabilities internationally. It is envisaged that this partnership will enhance opportunities to build regional capabilities in the Asia-Pacific, that influence responses to international and domestic crises.

Through this collaboration it is hoped that a more effective and adaptable leadership capability will be built within FRNSW and across the region.

The 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held at Jupiters, Gold Coast, QLD on the 30-31 May 2016.

The Conference theme ‘EARTH, FIRE and RAIN’ will continue to examine issues that impact preparedness, resilience, response and capability. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.