Expanding knowledge and capabilities
While working in The National Civil Protection Authority of Macedonia, Vlakto Jovanovski discovered his interest in disaster management. He always felt a strong need to learn, explore and expand. So, when he got the opportunity to join the Master of Disaster Management (MDMa) programme at the University of Copenhagen, he grabbed it.
“The education system in Macedonia is very different from the one in Denmark. I had been hearing about the Danish education system from other people, but now I have experienced the whole package myself. The programme allowed me to expand my knowledge and gain self-confidence in my capabilities and spend one year with an incredible group of people with whom I am still in contact. I can freely say that it is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life so far,” he says.
The learning environment of UCPH was very motivating to Vlatko. It was a great opportunity for him to not only learn, but also to expand his network of colleagues and friends.
Vlatko graduated from the MDMa programme in 2012, and today he is the Head of Secretariat at Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative for Southern Eastern Europe. The skills he acquired from the programme, and the group work in particular, are skills that he still uses in his job every day.
“I gained so much from the group work. My current job is very much related to coordination, communication and diplomacy. The fact that we spent most of our time at UCPH working in groups helped me to learn how to be patient, how to listen, how to respect other people's opinion and most important to learn about different decision making styles of the people in the group,” he says.
An excellent investment in yourself
In the MDMa programme, students attend lectures with professionals within the field of disaster management; they work in groups and get a chance to test their knowledge through case studies and field work. This wide learning environment has certainly stuck with Vlatko through the years.
“The programme covered all key elements in disaster risk management and exposed me to new concepts like systems thinking and complexity. At the same time, we worked with the multidisciplinary approach in disaster management, covering topics like law, history and culture. The chance to listen to people from the field was very rewarding. And the field course in Bangladesh is something that I will always remember,” he says.
To the question if Vlatko would recommend the programme to others interested in working with disaster management, the verdict is clear:
“I will and have been recommending this programme ever since I graduated. The programme is an excellent investment in yourself and your personal development as someone dedicated to the cause of disaster risk management,” he says.
Interview from April 2020