Foreign Pinoy Scientist in China: A Disaster Risk Reduction ‘Evangelist’


Dr. Glenn F. Fernandez, recipient of the 2021 Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award, had personal reasons for specializing in the field of disaster mitigation and management.

His coastal hometown in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, was the hardest hit by the Moro Gulf tsunami in 1976. It was the worst disaster in Philippine history with the highest death toll before the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) wreaked havoc in 2013 on virtually all of the Visayas.

Dr. Glenn F. Fernandez, recipient of the 2021 Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award, with Deputy Chief Financial Officer Abdulgani M. Macatoman (left) and former Secretary and President Justice Francisco P. Acosta (retired) (right) at the PAFIOO Awards Ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel Manila, City of Pasay on June 29, 2022

Glenn decided to learn only from the best and Japan is known among the world leaders in disaster studies. With a scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbukagakusho), he completed his postgraduate degree in environmental management (specializing in disaster risk management) at the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of the Kyoto University, which is consistently ranked among the best in the world. the universities.

In line with his goal of learning ways to help the Philippines, a country constantly visited by natural calamities like typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, Glenn undertook several studies that would help the government and citizens better understand disasters and prepare for them effectively and efficiently. He also undertook other related research that would benefit Asian countries and the entire region.

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His research included “Business Continuity Management in Philippine Business School Curricula”, “Examining Five Decades of Japanese Science Diplomacy in Southeast Asia”, “Developing post-typhoon waste management in coastal cities of Fiji and the Philippines”, “Mangrove Monitoring and Rehabilitation (Tsunami Bio-Shield) by Youth Councils”, “The Tsunami Tendenko (Japanese Indigenous Tsunami Evacuation Strategy) is it applicable in other countries? “Tsunami Risk Perception and Tsunami Evacuation Strategies in Pagadian, Philippines”, “Youth Involvement in the Recovery of Marawi, Philippines from the 2017 Armed Siege”, “Building Disaster and Climate Change Resilience of Small and Medium Enterprises in Asia”, “Youth Council Involvement in Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction in Infanta and Makati, Philippines”, “Youth Involvement in Disaster Risk Reduction through Science Clubs in Philippines”, “Climate Change Education in the Philippines”, “Climate and Disaster Resilience Initiative: Capacity Building Program”, and “Climate and Disaster Resilience Initiative: Metro Manila”.

Mr. Fernandez during the 5-day training of trainers on the rehabilitation and conservation of mangroves and seaside forests conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) - Philippines

Mr. Fernandez during the 5-day training of trainers on the rehabilitation and conservation of mangroves and seaside forests conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – Philippines

As the titles suggest, he not only considered the effects of the disaster itself, but considered ways for future calamities that could be made less destructive because they could not be prevented from occurring.

He investigated how mangroves, as important breeding grounds for marine life, could protect coastal areas from the force of a tsunami and how young people could actively participate in disaster risk reduction. With climate change, including global warming, melting polar ice caps and sea level rise, becoming increasingly inescapable, he has researched climate change education, capacity building to increase resilience to climate change and disasters, and how to help build resilience to disasters and climate change. micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which account for more than 90% of business activities in the country.

Another research examined how young people could actively participate in the rehabilitation of Marawi, once one of the most beautiful towns in the country, but still in ruins after heavy armed fighting in 2017 between government forces and rebel groups.

His various research and capacity building projects have been presented at several international academic conferences, training events and workshops. They have been published in scientific journals. Recommendations from his research have been discussed in policy deliberations and included in disaster preparedness plans and, importantly, in local disaster risk management actions.

Glenn is the founding president of U-INSPIRE Philippines and is now one of its mentors. U-INSPIRE is Asia’s new platform for youth participation and leadership in disaster risk reduction (DRR). It was established in 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia with the help of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and now has 12 active chapters in the region.

He is also one of the leading advocates for evidence-based youth participation in DRR in the Philippines and across Asia.

Over the past 10 years, he has actively contributed to scholarship on youth engagement in DRR and has published a book, three journal articles, nine book chapters, a handbook on disaster education, a master’s thesis and a doctoral thesis.

Since 2018, Glenn has been an Associate Professor at the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR) at Sichuan University – Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He developed IDMR’s research program on the role of youth organizations in disaster resilience, as well as institutional research and educational collaborations in countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (ASEAN).

He is the focal point for IDMR’s research on business continuity management (BCM), disaster waste management and science diplomacy. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to disaster management and reconstruction.

Glenn is a young scientist with the Integrated Research in Disaster Risk (IRDR) program, which is co-sponsored by the International Scientific Council (ISC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

In 2018, he became a member of the Japan Foundation Asia Center (JFAC). He was invited in 2019 to be a section editor of the Progress in Disaster Science Journal published by Elsevier.

Glenn previously worked as a researcher at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, Thailand; the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) at Kyoto University in Japan; Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC), World Bank Tokyo Office; and Section of Education for Sustainable Development (EDD), UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

Since 2009, he has been a principal researcher, coordinator or researcher in numerous international research and capacity development projects (most of which involve the Philippines) related to disaster risk reduction. It uses funds from international donors in its DRR research and capacity development projects in the Philippines.

By conferring the Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award on Dr. Glenn F. Fernandez, the President recognizes his outstanding contributions to disaster risk management and for being the leading champion of evidence-based youth engagement in disaster risk reduction in the Philippines and in Asia.

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