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It Takes Three

By Seema Chowdhry (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, MPA 2017)

Edith Louise Tuazon Batac, an alumna of Master in Public Policy (MPP) Class of 2010, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), has a simple way to explain what she does. “If I were to explain my job to my toddler, I would say mama helps take care of the planet to help break its fever – just like how I take care of you when you are not feeling well.”

Loit is an MPP alumna from Class of 2010.

A senior officer with Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Philippines, Edith, or Loit as she likes to be called, is not the only LKYSPP alumnus working with this international treaty-based organization.

“In April 2020, I took on the role of Country Representative for GGGI in Vietnam. It was a time of fear for our health, of uncertainty for the economy, of loss in our normal way of life, of separation from our loved ones,” says Hanh Le, who graduated with an MPP degree in 2011. As the Country Representative of GGGI in Vietnam, her priority is to consider how best to support the country in its transition to green growth. She believes her work with GGGI is a multi-faceted endeavour that needs technical expertise to identify the appropriate sustainable solutions for Vietnam, gain the trust and support from the government to bring partners together to contribute resources and then implement successfully.

Hanh, an MPP alumna from Class of 2011, is the Country Representative for GGGI in Vietnam. GGGI was first launched as a think tank in 2010 by Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and converted into an organization in 2012, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. GGGI is an inter-governmental organisation “dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies”.

GGGI has a prominent role as a neutral, trusted advisor and strategic development partner embedded in partner central and local governments. GGGI's interventions aim to make an impact in the following areas: reductions in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, creation of green jobs, increased access to sustainable services including energy, sanitation, waste and transport, and enhanced adaptation to climate change and more.

The impact of climate change is no longer about forecasts or imagined scenarios in the distant future. “We have seen forest fires in Australia and in the US, super typhoons in the Philippines, rising sea levels, droughts – what more proof do we need to believe that climate change is real?” asks Loit who manages the capacity development component of the Climate Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Value Chain Project in Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. The program aims to mainstream climate resilience and inclusive green growth in agriculture.

Loit, who found the job with GGGI through LinkedIn, connected with Hanh Le before applying. She wanted to understand more about the culture and what better way than checking with an alumnus of the school she went to. “More and more, private sector companies, even those in the consumer goods industry, are integrating sustainability into their operations as this is the only way that these companies will survive. LKYSPP graduates are in a very good position to influence the organizations where they work, to integrate sustainability into their operations given the skills, network and knowledge they have gained through the school,” she says.

With three MPP alumni working for a global climate change initiative, it is easy to see why LKYSPP is not just a public policy education institution. It’s a school that enables its graduates to work directly on global challenges and with governments to bring in much needed course correction to sustain our planet.

“LKYSPP was a transformative experience because it was not only about the classroom but also getting a lot of perspectives about different cultures and how to work collectively for the community to thrive,” says Hanh Le, who feels LKYSPP was a perfect choice for a masters program because it “gave me the opportunity to learn about public policy issues and approaches in Asia which was always close to my heart.”

Hanh Le, who has established a Green Bond Readiness Program in Vietnam, says that with her country becoming an economic powerhouse on the international stage, GHG emissions and environmental degradation is increasing rapidly. “This does not only contribute to climate change but also affects environmental conditions locally such as air quality, water quality etc. My work in Vietnam is to support the government and the private sector to see examples of green growth and work towards economic development without jeopardising the environment.”

Loit always wanted to pursue a career that provides opportunities to make a direct impact on addressing social and global issues. “I learned a lot from my MPP education – I became more analytical and I learned to write better, which is a very important skill in any industry or field of work. Apart from the academics, the strength of LKYSPP is the diversity and inclusiveness of its programs, where people from all walks of life and from all parts of the globe converge and inspire each other to make a positive change in this world,” she says.

This article was originally published on Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Alumni Stories:



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