The newest graduates of Georgetown’s International Executive Master’s in Emergency & Disaster Management (IEDM) degree programme were recognised at a virtual closing ceremony amidst a global pandemic that has put the spotlight on the essential role of trained professionals in the emergency response fields.
A total of 20 students received the IEDM degree this year, which is offered through Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) in Washington, DC, and supported by the Office of Executive and Professional Education at GU-Q, a QF partner. Through the programme, the graduates learned what it takes to plan for, manage, and respond to a wide variety of natural, technological, and man-made disasters.
This year’s IEDM cohort represented a wide variety of sectors from across Qatar, including military and defence, healthcare, architecture, engineering, law enforcement and security, international affairs and development and philanthropy.
Dr Kelly Otter, dean of SCS, delivered the opening remarks at the virtual ceremony. "I'm thrilled to be with you here today, to congratulate you on all that you have accomplished in Georgetown's Executive Master's in Emergency and Disaster Management Programme. These are truly unprecedented times and the skills and expertise that you've gained in this programme are valuable in our world now more than ever,” she said.
In his congratulatory remarks, the dean of GU-Q, Dr Ahmad Dallal, said, “The world is waking up to the fact that properly planned and executed emergency and disaster management is one of the most critical factors to national security and to ensure a rapid global recovery from catastrophic events,” adding that this year’s graduates “are well placed to provide the needed expertise to help the world forge a path to recovery, and prepare for an uncertain future.”
Select students were recognised for academic excellence and contributions to the community, including Abdulla al-Khayarin, head of the Licensing Affairs Department at the Ministry of Interior, who won the IEDM Ambassador Award, and Alyaa al-Mannai, head of the Education and Training Division of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, who won the Outstanding Community Engagement Award. Megan O'Connor, a disaster response operations analyst, was selected for the Outstanding Capstone Impact Award for her project on “Reducing Risk and Mitigating Harm to Vulnerable Sub-populations of Refugees.”
Before graduating, the students presented their capstone projects in a virtual gallery walk streamed online. Several projects focused on the security of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with research presented on mass gathering emergency planning and operations, terrorism and cyber security threats, and the role of public-private partnerships in reducing disaster risks during the games. Projects also covered health sector preparedness for an industrial emergency and the need for effective responses involving hazardous materials, topics that have taken on greater significance in light of the recent port disaster in Beirut, Lebanon.
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