The title of this year’s webinar is ‘Anticipatory Action in Humanitarian Responses: Local Perspectives’. With this theme, the webinar will discuss: (i) Reflections from COVID-19, (ii) How organisations have incorporated anticipatory action into their operations and responses, (iii) Ways to scale up anticipatory action efforts in the future. The panel discussion will aim to raise public awareness on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region by providing a venue for exchange of ideas, insights and experiences from those involved in the protection and assistance of vulnerable groups displaced by disasters, particularly from a Singaporean perspective. The annual event to commemorate World Humanitarian Day brings together local players in the humanitarian sphere to celebrate the dedication of humanitarian workers around the world, and to remember those in most need of assistance.
About the Speakers
Konstantinos Antonopoulos has been an active practitioner in international affairs for more than 15 years and is currently working as the Regional Representative to ASEAN for Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Prior to his current role, he spent two years in the UK working as Policy and Advocacy Advisor for MSF- UK. He commenced his career with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was deployed as part of the Hellenic Aid Mission to deliver humanitarian assistance to the tsunami-hit regions of South Asia. His humanitarian work has taken him to over 90 countries throughout the world. In Asia-Pacific specifically, he has worked and lived in Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand; as well as in Sri-Lanka, Pakistan, and Yemen.
His specific interests lie in international relations and diplomacy with a focus on regional humanitarian strategies. His work also involves research on medical humanitarian diplomacy, particularly around preparedness and response to natural disasters, conflict resolution and disease outbreaks. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Political Science from Kansas State University and has postgraduate Diplomas from Oxford University on Refugee Studies.
Matilda Leong serves in one of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities, where she helms the organisation’s disaster response, climate impact, as well as microfinance work, which includes designing and fundraising for disaster response projects that help to build the resilience of communities before a disaster, provide emergency relief during a disaster, and facilitate recovery after disasters.
Matilda comes from a humanitarian, development, and impact investing background. Her experience spans Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and over the last 10 years, she has been involved in different functions ranging from programme and business development, monitoring and evaluation, as well as research.
Matilda holds a Masters in Environment and Sustainable Development, where she explored the intersections between poverty alleviation and environmental protection to ensure socio-environmental justice.
Angelina Ong is the current Executive Director of Mercy Relief, Singapore’s leading independent disaster relief agency. Her previous experience in the non-profit sector was as a General Manager at the Breast Cancer Foundation, Singapore, where she was responsible for day-to-day operations and the development of awareness and education programmes, support and volunteer programmes, fundraising, media, finance, and administration. She also spearheaded and managed the formation of the first Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team in Asia and organised the first BCS Dragon Boat World Championship in Singapore in 2006.
Mely Caballero-Anthony is Professor of International Relations and holds the President’s Chair of International Relations and Security Studies at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is also Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Prof Anthony is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (APLN) and is Secretary-General for the Consortium on Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). From 2013 to 2017, Prof Anthony served on the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (ABDM) and was its Chairperson in 2016. She was Director of External Relations at the ASEAN Secretariat from 2011-2012.
Her research interests include regionalism and multilateralism in Asia-Pacific, global governance, human security and non-traditional security, nuclear security and conflict prevention. She has published extensively on a broad range of political and security issues in Asia-Pacific in peer-reviewed journals and international academic presses. Her latest books, both single-authored and co-edited, include: Nuclear Governance in the Indo-Pacific (Routledge, forthcoming 2021), Negotiating Governance on Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and Beyond (NY: Columbia University Press, 2018), An Introduction to Non-Traditional Security Studies (London: Sage Publications, 2018), Human Security and Climate Change (UK: Routledge, 2013).
Alistair D. B. Cook is Coordinator of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Programme and Senior Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. His research interests focus geographically on the Asia-Pacific and Myanmar in particular and thematically on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), foreign policy and regional cooperation. He has taught undergraduate, graduate and professional development courses at Purdue University, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Nanyang Technological University, Australian National University, Singapore Civil Defence Academy and SAFTI.