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First Asian centre for humanitarian logistics

07 November 2012

(From left) Mr Martin Willhaus, Managing Director, Kühne Foundation; Mr Quek Swee Kuan, Assistant Managing Director, Economic Development Board; Mr Gernandt; Prof Tan; Dr Thomas Staehelin, Member of Board of Trustees, Kuehne-Stiftung; and Dr de Souza at the launch of the Kühne Foundation - National University of Singapore Education Centre for Humanitarian Logistics Asia Pacific

A centre for humanitarian logistics has been set up in Asia to raise awareness and foster collaboration between regional academics, government agencies, non-profit organisations, universities, students and the commercial sector.

The Logistics Institute - Asia Pacific (TLI - Asia Pacific) of NUS and the Kühne Foundation, a public-benefit organisation based in Switzerland, have jointly established the Kühne Foundation - NUS Education Centre for Humanitarian Logistics Asia Pacific. It will conduct standardised and advanced supply chain management courses and research into best practices and perspectives in a humanitarian context.

Based in Singapore, the Centre will work with university partners in Indonesia, Australia, Switzerland and Thailand as research and training satellites to provide support and assistance. It will also organise events that assemble some of the major relief organisations and key experts in the field of logistics to share their experience.

At the launch of the Centre on 6 November, Professor Tan Eng Chye, Chairman of TLI - Asia Pacific and NUS Provost, noted that Singapore's global connectivity, pro-business environment and international talent pool put it in a good position to serve as a humanitarian response hub for organisations to plan and coordinate their humanitarian outreach or relief efforts in Asia.

Mr Karl Gernandt, Chairman of Kühne + Nagel International AG, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Kühne Foundation, said that this marked the Foundation's opening of its first overseas office in Singapore as a joint-venture. He noted that the field of humanitarian logistics is so far an untouched subject in the region and was amazed at the response for education.

Dr Robert de Souza, Executive Director of TLI - Asia Pacific, expressed confidence that the Institute's strong industry links and research activities will be able to bring the commercial logistics and humanitarian worlds together to deliver the needed applied programmes.

At the event, the Centre also unveiled its first book entitled Humanitarian Logistics in Asia-Pacific: Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives. A topic on humanitarian logistics has been included in the postgraduate curriculum to introduce students and future supply chain management practitioners to this specialised field.

The Centre's official launch coincided with TLI - Asia Pacific's "Humanitarian Supply Chains in Asia: The New Frontier" Conference with keynote speakers and panelists from United Nations World Food Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Save the Children and UPS.